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As early as the 21st, Omicron’s response stage shift… “Don’t miss the timing like with Corona”

On the afternoon of the 14th, citizens are being tested at the ‘COVID-19 testing center’ directly managed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which is set up at Sindorim Station in Seoul. yunhap news

The government has decided to switch the epidemiological investigation, diagnostic test, and treatment method to the ‘Omicron response stage’ if Omicron, a new mutant virus for COVID-19, becomes a dominant mutation in Korea. The expected date is the 21st of this month at the earliest. This is because they predicted the time when more than half of the COVID-19 mutations detected in Korea will become microns. Before that, even if the number of new confirmed cases per day reaches 7,000, it immediately switches to the Omicron response system.

Experts worry that preparations are still insufficient. Omicron should take sufficient preemptive measures before it becomes a dominant mutation, but there are concerns whether it is too late or repeating the mistakes of last year’s ‘With Corona (step-by-step recovery)’.

Management of all confirmed cases → Management of high-risk groups and severe cases

On the afternoon of the 14th, at a pharmacy in Jung-gu, Daegu, a pharmacist is checking the edible Corona 19 treatment ‘Paxrovid’. News 1

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced on the 14th that it would switch to the Omicron response stage when Omicron becomes a dominant mutation or when the number of new infections reaches 7,000 per day. Until then, the plan is to raise social awareness by warning that the number of confirmed cases may surge within a short period of time when the number of confirmed cases reaches 5,000.

The key to Omicron’s response stage is to change the quarantine system that managed all confirmed cases to focus on high-risk groups and patients with severe symptoms. First of all, the PCR test capacity is expanded to a maximum of 850,000 per day in the preparation stage, and priority is given to high-risk groups in the response stage. Instead, other people have to undergo rapid antigen testing at hospitals and clinics.

In order to minimize the infection through Omicron, the validity period of quarantine exemption for the second inoculation, which is currently 6 months, is shortened during the preparation phase. An official from the quarantine authorities said, “We are considering excluding those who have passed 4 months after the second dose from quarantine exemption.” The 4th vaccination for immunocompromised and high-risk groups and vaccination plans for 5-11 year olds are also prepared at the preparation stage.

Upon entering the response stage, the quarantine period for confirmed cases, contacts, and home treatment will be reduced from the current 10 days to 7 days, and local hospitals and clinics will also treat COVID-19 patients. The target of prescription drugs for oral treatment will also be expanded from the current 65 years of age or older to those with underlying diseases. This is to ensure that the medical system and social functions can be maintained even when a large number of asymptomatic and mild patients occur.

I’m not ready… “The remaining time is too short”

The spread of Omicron in Korea is faster than expected. About 7 weeks after the first case of infection on November 24 last year, the detection rate of Omicron among domestic mutation analysis cases is 22.8%. It increased by more than 10 percentage points from 12.5 percent last week. As of 00:00 on the 14th, the number of confirmed cases imported from abroad stood at 409, a record high for three days in a row. Since Omicron is already a dominant mutation abroad, it is likely that many of them are infected with Omicron.

Jeong Jae-hoon, a professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine at Gachon University, predicted that “even with social distancing measures, the number of confirmed cases will not decrease any more and will soon reach 7,000.” According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) simulation, the number of new confirmed cases will increase to 30,000 next month, and the number of severe cases will increase to around 1,700.

On the 14th, foreign entrants are moving from Terminal 1 of Incheon International Airport. News 1

Considering this situation, there is only about a week left to check the response of Omicron. Preparation is not enough. The supply of edible medicines started only on that day, and local lawmakers have no experience of receiving COVID-19 patients. There are even observations that “there will inevitably come a limit in the response stage”. Eom Joong-sik, a professor of infectious diseases at Gachon University Gil Hospital, worried, “It will not be easy for medical staff at the clinic level to be careful not to get infected with Corona 19.”

The number of patients would increase in an instant… “Why are you one step late?”

There are many concerns that it will be too late if Omicron has already become a dominant mutation and then shifts to the response stage. The government hesitated to launch the emergency plan despite the increase in the number of confirmed cases after Weed Corona at the end of last year. Eventually, the number of confirmed cases increased to close to 8,000, and the medical system was on the verge of collapse. I have endured from time to time due to the sacrifice of the medical staff, but this time it is different. Considering the high propagation power of Omicron, there is no room for it.

Kim Woo-joo, a professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Korea University Guro Hospital, said, “The number of infected people in Omicron increases in an instant, but the government is trying to go one step later, like the delta mutation epidemic or With Corona.”

On this day, the government announced that it would increase the intensity of social distancing once Omicron spreads in earnest. However, for three weeks from the 17th, including the Lunar New Year holiday, the standard for private gatherings will increase from the current 4 to 6, and the distance will be slightly relaxed. Although the time of Omicron’s spread is not far away, some point out that loosening and tightening the quarantine within a short period of time can have the opposite effect. Professor Jeong emphasized, “It is important how smoothly the transition from the preparation stage to the response stage is.”

Ryuho reporter


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