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Korea was also penetrated by Omicron… Five confirmed cases, including a couple visiting Nigeria

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day has surpassed 5,000. Analysts say that the 5th pandemic has begun in earnest as the transmission power is 5 times stronger than that of Delta, and there are even confirmed cases of Omicron. On the 1st, medical staff are treating critically ill patients at Pyeongtaek Parkae Hospital, a hospital dedicated to the base of COVID-19. Reporter Kim Beom-jun “/>

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day has surpassed 5,000. Analysts say that the 5th pandemic has begun in earnest as the transmission power is 5 times stronger than that of Delta, and there are even confirmed cases of Omicron. On the 1st, medical staff are treating critically ill patients at Pyeongtaek Parkae Hospital, a hospital dedicated to the base of COVID-19. Reporter Kim Beom-jun

Omicron, a new COVID-19 mutant virus, has landed in Korea. A total of five people, including a couple in their 40s who tested positive for COVID-19 after a recent visit to Nigeria, were infected with Omicron. The government, which said “there is no retreat from the with corona (step-by-step recovery of daily life),” started strengthening quarantine measures in preparation for the spread of Omicron.

According to the quarantine authorities on the 1st, it was finally confirmed that a couple in their 40s, who were the first suspected cases of Omicron in Korea, were infected with Omicron. This is the first time that an Omicron patient has appeared in Korea. Omicron mutations were also detected in one acquaintance who drove the couple from the airport to their home. In addition, two other confirmed patients who visited Nigeria were confirmed to be infected, bringing the total number of Omicron patients in Korea to five.

Analysts suggest that Omicron has already penetrated various parts of the community. The quarantine authorities are conducting genomic analysis of four close contacts, including family members of the Omicron infected person. Omicron propagates five times faster than delta, raising concerns that the corona pandemic will enter a new phase.

For the next two weeks, the government decided to quarantine all overseas travelers for 10 days, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not. Nigeria has also been added to the list of countries with entry restrictions, including eight African countries.

There is a possibility that high-intensity quarantine measures equivalent to social distancing will be introduced. Park Soo-hyeon, senior presidential secretary for public communication at the Blue House, said on the same day, “If the number of confirmed cases of Omicron increases, there may be a large-scale adjustment to quarantine measures.” ” he said.

26 countries including Korea have reported cases of Omicron infection. As the number of infected with Omicron continues to rise, each country is raising the level of quarantine. The U.S. plans to require all inbound travelers, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, to submit a negative confirmation of a COVID-19 diagnostic test performed within 24 hours before boarding a flight.

“Omicron has already spread to the community”… High-intensity distance seems inevitable
40-year-old couple → acquaintances → wife, father-in-law, etc… Fear of further spread of infection

Due to the counterattack of the Corona 19 virus, the Republic of Korea has been driven into a ‘groggy’ state. It is difficult to handle the rapidly increasing number of new confirmed cases and severe cases with only the delta mutation, which is currently the dominant species. There is also a situation in which Omicron started to be called ‘community spread’ beyond ‘overseas inflow’.

As the warfare against the coronavirus has changed, there are also growing calls for the need to take out the ‘shield’ (high-intensity social distancing) that was harvested with the start of With Corona a month ago (high-intensity social distancing). “If left alone, 10,000 new cases a day is just a matter of time. High-intensity distancing such as limiting the number of private gatherings should be implemented again before it is too late” (Chun Eun-mi, professor of respiratory medicine at Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital) said.

Korea was also penetrated by Omicron...  Five confirmed cases, including a couple visiting Nigeria

Delta is also difficult, but up to Omicron

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the 1st, the number of new confirmed cases on the previous day was 5,123. It far surpassed the previous record of 4115 (November 23). The number of patients with severe severe cases was 723, again breaking the previous record (November 29, 661).

It is natural for the medical system to become overloaded. In Seoul (90.7%) and Chungcheong Province (95.0%), the hospitalization rate of beds with severe COVID-19 exceeded 90%. Choi Jae-wook, a professor of preventive medicine at Korea University, said, “The critical care system is on the verge of collapse.”

To make matters worse, the Omicron mutation, which is ranked higher than Delta in terms of propagation speed and vaccine evasion ability, also entered Korea. It is the same outbreak that swept the entire globe within a week after its existence was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) (November 24).

The starting point of domestic Omicron transmission is a couple in their 40s who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Nigeria. They were exempted from self-quarantine after returning home because they completed the Moderna vaccination. An acquaintance of a man in his 30s who greeted them at the airport, who is a pastor’s couple, contracted Omicron, and he passed the Corona 19 virus to three people, including his wife, mother-in-law, and another acquaintance. The son of a couple in their 40s (a teenager) also tested positive for COVID-19. Whether or not these four people are infected with the Omicron mutation will be revealed later. All but a couple in their 40s were not vaccinated.

In the medical world, considering the chain of infection that leads to ‘a couple in their 40s → acquaintance in their 30s → wife, mother-in-law, another acquaintance → OOO’ and ‘a couple in their 40s → teenage son → □□□’, Omicron mutation has already occurred in the local community. We focus on the possibility of spreading. Separately, two women in their 50s living in Gyeonggi-do who visited Nigeria were also confirmed to have been infected with the Omicron mutation.

Re-limit private gatherings

The government immediately raised the level of quarantine related to Omicron. Anyone in contact with an Omicron mutation confirmed to self-isolate regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not. The quarantine period was also set to 14 days, longer than the current 10 days. It was decided to hospitalize patients with Omicron mutations in hospitals or living treatment centers rather than home treatment. In addition, Nigeria has been added to the list of countries exempted from quarantine, which is currently eight countries, including South Africa.

Now, people’s attention is shifting to whether or not to resume high-intensity distancing. It was still at risk, but it was because the variables of ‘Omicron’s appearance’ and ‘Year-end party season’ were also added. This means that the situation is not idle enough for the government to insist, “It is a difficult recovery to everyday life, but it cannot be easily reversed.” When the government came up with measures to strengthen quarantine two days ago, in order not to undermine the big frame of With Corona, the government took out the distance and added only a measure to expand the booster shots (additional inoculation).

The medical community sees the re-implementation of social distancing as a fact. This is because it is urgently necessary to add a ‘shield’ to supplement the vaccine as it has been confirmed that vaccines alone cannot block the ‘window’ of Corona 19. Considering Omicron’s strong transmission and vaccine evasion ability, the need for distancing becomes even greater.

The government is also suggesting that it can return to high-intensity quarantine measures given the change in the situation. Park Soo-hyeon, senior presidential secretary for public communication at the Blue House, said on the same day, “If the number of confirmed cases due to Omicron increases, there may be a large-scale adjustment of quarantine measures.” The government plans to hold a meeting with the quarantine and medical subcommittee of the Daily Recovery Support Committee on the 2nd and collect opinions from experts on additional quarantine measures such as reducing the number of people allowed for private gatherings, limiting the business hours of restaurants and cafes, and expanding the target of the quarantine pass.

Reporter Lee Seon-ah/Lee Ji-hyun/Oh Sang-heon [email protected]

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