While the number of new confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in Korea is the highest ever, the sense of crisis in quarantine is increasing as cases of inflows of Omicron, a new mutation of Corona 19, have also been confirmed.
The problem is that the number of confirmed cases is rapidly increasing to a level that is difficult to handle, even if it was expected with the implementation of normal recovery.
In addition, as the possibility of spreading the Omicron mutation, which is known to have a stronger contagious power than other mutated viruses, has been confirmed, the voice of halting the daily recovery is expected to increase. In the medical field, there are even criticisms that “it has already been practiced”.
As of 00:00 on the 1st, the number of new confirmed cases in Korea was 5,123. It is the first time that the number of new confirmed cases has exceeded 5,000. This is 1,8 more than the previous record of 4,115 on the 24th of last month. In addition, 2,91 people at once surged from 332 the previous day, showing a sharp increase.
The number of patients with severe gastritis also recorded 723, the highest number ever. It is the first time that the number exceeded 700.
The capacity to treat the rapidly increasing number of critically ill patients is also reaching its limit. In Seoul (90.7%) and in Chungcheong Province (95.0%), the utilization rate of beds with severe COVID-19 exceeded 90%, resulting in an emergency for medical response. Even in the entire metropolitan area, the utilization rate of critically ill beds stood at 89.2% on the same day, approaching 90%.
Choi Jae-wook, a professor of preventive medicine at Korea University, said, “The critical care system is on the verge of collapse.
In a situation that is getting worse day by day, the quarantine authorities are nervous as the first case of omicron mutation in Korea was confirmed.
A couple in their 40s, who visited Nigeria, a country where Omicron mutation occurred on the 14th and 23rd of last month, were confirmed with Corona 19 on the 25th of last month, a day after their return, and were finally confirmed as infected with the Omicron mutation on the same day.
A man in his 30s, an acquaintance of the couple, was also confirmed to have been infected, and the couple’s teenage son is also suspected of being infected with the Omicron mutation.
Since the couple completed the Moderna vaccine on October 28, they did not self-quarantine after returning home.
In addition, 45 of the 81 people who were on the same plane as the couple when they returned to Korea entered Korea.
In addition to three people in their 40s and acquaintances who were initially classified as suspected infections, two additional women in their 50s who visited Nigeria were also confirmed.
Accordingly, the government held a meeting of related ministries to evaluate the situation of overseas inflows on the same day and decided to implement 10-day quarantine measures for all overseas arrivals, including Koreans, for the next two weeks from the 3rd to the 16th, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not.
In addition, from 00:00 on the 3rd, Nigeria will be additionally designated as a quarantine-strengthened country, a dangerous country, and a country exempted from quarantine. The same measures have been applied to eight countries, including South Africa and Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Eswatini, since the 28th of last month.
Experts are of the opinion that in a situation where the number of confirmed cases and patients with severe cases is rapidly increasing, it is dangerous to continue to push for daily recovery if omicron mutations are added. Omicron has strong transmission power and is expected to reduce the effectiveness of existing vaccines.
Cheon Eun-mi, a professor of respiratory medicine at Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, said, “The omicron mutation will definitely spread much faster. did.
On the 29th of last month, the government announced that it would suspend the implementation of the second stage of daily recovery and implement special quarantine measures such as home treatment and expansion of booster vaccinations for four weeks.
However, it announced that it would discuss and review measures to strengthen social distancing, such as limiting the number of private gatherings requested by medical experts and expanding the target of the quarantine pass, in consideration of economic damage such as the self-employed.
Professor Cheon said, “Of course we should do social distancing, but it’s too late.” “If the medical system collapses, there is no economy, and the problem is that the government responds too late.”
He said, “The number of new confirmed cases jumped from 4,000 to 5,000 in one week, and it will increase to 10,000 by the end of the year. urged to strengthen social distancing.
Professor Choi Jae-wook said, “The government seems to see the strengthening of social distancing as a retreat from recovery, but I want to say ‘no’. emphasized.
The government is collecting expert opinions on the necessity, level, and specific measures of social quarantine measures. It will be forwarded to the Central Script.
Although there are many opinions in the Quarantine and Medical Division calling for strengthening of social distancing, there are concerns that strengthening social distancing will cause great inconvenience to the public and cause economic damage to the vulnerable. are doing
Director Sohn said, “We will implement additional vaccinations as quickly as possible and expand the medical system with all our might to make it more efficient, while social measures will be decided with advice from the Daily Recovery Support Committee.”
The government plans to gather opinions from the Daily Restoration Committee and finally discuss it at a major headquarters meeting on the 3rd. However, it said that it is undecided whether a final decision will be made on the same day, given that there are conflicting opinions by division.