The Omicron variant is spreading faster than the South Korean government’s initial prediction. However, the government is considering easing the current social distancing guidelines as early as Friday, which was supposed to end on March 13 while the medical field says it may be too premature.
According to the disease control authorities, the number of new daily COVID-19 patients recorded 219,241 as of 12 a.m. on Wednesday, up over 80,000 cases from the previous day. It was the first time that the figure exceeded 200,000 cases. The disease control authorities predicted that the daily cases will reach 230,000 around the presidential election next Wednesday. The speed of the virus’s spread, however, is over one week faster than the prediction. Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom said more infections may occur among teenagers.
The numbers of patients with serious symptoms and deaths are also comparable to those experienced with the Delta variant at the end of last year. The number of patients with serious symptoms is 763 as of Wednesday, up 35 from the previous day and having exceeded 700 for three consecutive days. The number of deaths is 96. According to the disease control authorities, the number of patients with severe symptoms will reach 1,200 around next Wednesday, which is higher than the crisis at the end of last year, and soar up to 2,750 during this month.
While the end of the Omicron variant is unpredictable, the government is considering further easing disease control guidelines.
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