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Gov. to focus on high-risk groups as Omicron cases surge

Gov. to focus on high-risk groups as Omicron cases surge

Posted February. 08, 2022 07:57,   

Updated February. 08, 2022 07:57


Only high-risk groups among COVID-19 patients under at-home treatment will be managed by health authorities from Thursday. Patients aged 60 or above, and the 50s with underlying diseases prescribed with oral antiviral treatments are classified as “intensive care group.” The remaining at-home treatment patients, who are under 60 or have mild or no symptoms, need to manage their own health conditions.

The government held a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters presided over by President Moon Jae-in on Monday and confirmed the quarantine and medical response plan for the Omicron variant. According to the plan, health monitoring by phone, which has been conducted for all at-home COVID-19 patients, will be implemented only for the intensive care group from Feb. 10. At-home treatment kits, such as oxygen saturation meters, thermometers and fever reducers will be provided only to the intensive care group from Monday.

On the other hand, the rest of the patients will have to stay at home and check their health conditions by themselves. If they develop COVID-19 symptoms and need to receive treatment, they will receive non face-to-face treatment at a local hospital or counseling center. It is a system similar to Japan’s “home care.” Low-risk groups are effectively treated similar to flu patients, except that they are required to isolate.

The new plan is being introduced with a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients under at-home treatment. As the number of patients that needs to be managed jumped beyond the government’s control, the government decided to reassign the personnel at public health centers, who had previously been monitoring COVID-19 patients or distributing at-home treatment kits, to take care of the intensive care group.

The Omicron variant is surging out of control. As of 12 a.m. on Monday. the number of new COVID-19 cases stood at 35,286, reaching almost 40,000 for three days in a row. The detection rate of the Omicron variant surged to 92.1 percent. “There are many variables, but it is likely that the peak will be at the end of Feb,” said Lee Sang-won, a crisis response analyst at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Presiding over a CDSCH meeting in six months, President Moon said it could be the “last hurdle” before the nation returns to normalcy, stressing that we need to alert but there is no need to be overly afraid. President Moon also ordered to be prepared so that the essential functions of society will not be paralyzed due to a rapid surge in the number of confirmed cases as in other countries.

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