“The limit of medical capacity is imminent,” he said… The only way to strengthen quarantine is to ban movie theater popcorn

[오미크론 비상]Controversy over government special quarantine measures

Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Jeong Eun-kyung (right) and each minister write President Moon Jae-in’s remarks at a special quarantine inspection meeting for COVID-19 response held at the Cheong Wa Dae Yeomingwan on the 29th. The government raised the nation’s COVID-19 risk to ‘very high’ on the same day, but did not come up with a plan to strengthen social distancing. Blue House Photo Correspondents

“The medical response capacity is nearing the limit… .” “Because of the limitations of epidemiological investigation capabilities… .”

On the 29th, the government used the word ‘limit’ eight times in the announcement of measures for the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) epidemic. It is a warning that the epidemic index has reached a difficult situation, with the number of weekly confirmed cases and deaths recording the highest ever. However, the government’s measures on that day did not include measures to strengthen quarantine that would calm the spread in a short period of time. Experts were concerned, “The government felt the burden of reinforcing quarantine measures four weeks after the implementation of the ‘step-by-step recovery of daily life’ (with Corona), so it turned away from the dangers of the current situation.” Even within the quarantine authorities, there are opinions that it is difficult to withstand such measures.

○ Expand booster shot inoculation

From the 2nd of next month, the Central Accident Response Headquarters decided to receive advance reservations for additional vaccinations (booster shots) for 18-49 year-olds 5 months after completing the basic vaccination (one for Janssen) from the 2nd of next month. This is to preemptively prevent breakthrough infections among young people. If the booster shot is urgently needed due to personal circumstances such as staying at a facility vulnerable to infection, such as a nursing home, or traveling abroad, the vaccination interval will be shortened by one month. In this case, people over 60 years of age can receive a booster vaccination 3 months after completing the basic vaccination, and those aged 18-59 years can receive a booster vaccination within 4 months. From December 20, the validity period of the quarantine pass (6 months) will be introduced. If you do not receive a booster shot within 6 months of completing the basic vaccination, you must prove that you are negative for COVID-19 with a PCR test, like non-vaccinated people, before you can enter high-risk facilities such as karaoke rooms and gyms. For adolescents aged 12-17, who are currently undergoing basic vaccination, the vaccination schedule originally scheduled for January 22, next year, will be extended.

President Moon Jae-in said at a special quarantine measures inspection meeting on the same day, “I hope that you will quickly review the vaccinations for children aged 5-11, which are being implemented in other countries, including the United States.”

○ All measures to strengthen social distancing are suspended

Contrary to expectations, today’s government measures did not include measures to strengthen social distancing, such as reducing the size of private gatherings or restricting the use of restaurants and cafes for non-vaccinated people. Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol said, “These measures have a huge impact on the economy and inconvenience to the people, so the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters decided to make a final decision after further discussion with the Daily Recovery Support Committee.”

The application of the youth quarantine pass was also omitted. As the number of confirmed students increased after school started on the 22nd, the education authorities emphasized the need, but it was not reflected in the end. Yoo Eun-hye, Deputy Prime Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Education, said, “We have decided to review the situation while monitoring the situation of youth infection and vaccination.”

In the end, the strengthened quarantine rules are effectively only to ban eating and drinking such as popcorn in movie theaters again and to stop the winter kimchi event at senior citizens’ centers. An official from the quarantine authorities said, “There was strong opposition from economic ministries to the strengthening of the quarantine plan.

○ “In the middle of next month, the number of critically ill patients will increase to 1,000.”

Last week (21st to 27th), the number of COVID-19 patients aged 60 and over reached 8556, 2.9 times more than 4 weeks ago (2911). During the same period, the number of confirmed cases in non-metropolitan areas increased 1.9 times, and the epidemic is spreading across the country. As of 00:00 on the 29th, there were 629 critically ill patients, and the utilization rate of critically ill beds in the metropolitan area soared to 86.6%. It is pointed out that this measure is insufficient to put this serious epidemic to rest. Lee Jae-gap, a professor of infectious disease at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, said, “There is no way to solve the spread or shortage of beds. “The current number of critically ill patients of about 600 may increase to more than 1,000 by mid-December,” he said. There are also strong reactions from the Quarantine and Medical Subcommittee of the Daily Recovery Support Committee, saying, “Actually, none of the opinions to strengthen quarantine were accepted” and “The quarantine was pushed back by political judgment.”

The quarantine authorities also acknowledged the limitations of this measure. “It is difficult to expect that this measure will lead to a reduction in severe seriousness and death or an improvement in the bed utilization rate,” said Chung-ryeong, head of the general coordination team at the Central Quarantine Countermeasures Headquarters.

Reporter Lee Ji-woon [email protected]
Reporter Kim So-min [email protected]
Reporter Jo Yura [email protected]

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