President Moon Jae-in says the government is directing its full capacity to containing the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, he visited the southeastern city of Daegu which has seen the most number of confirmed cases in South Korea to offer words of comfort to local residents, while encouraging medical and quarantine staff who are working around the clock.
Moon vowed pan-national support including deployment of military, police and civilian resources to win the battle against the virus, noting the need for a turning point this week.
What's important is the time and speed. We have to reach a clear turning point in the number of new confirmed cases within this week.
Moon's visit came just two days after South Korea raised its epidemic alert level to critical the highest in the four-tier system.
The president pledged to look at support measures to ease the socio-economic damages on top of swift use of emergency funds.
Moon indicated that Daegu, which is currently a special care zone, could be proclaimed a special disaster zone which would make it eligible for financial and other administrative support.
The president also visited Daegu Medical Center a facility designated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients to observe frontline efforts. and met with small business owners to listen to their concerns about the economic fallout.
Moon stressed that the government is marshalling exceptional resolve, saying that the situation in Daegu will be dealt with as a problem for the entire country.
I think proclaiming the city as a special disaster zone alone will not be enough so there should be various support through a supplementary budget. The government is considering the difficulties of Daegu as a problem for South Korea as a whole.
President Moon also made it clear that the government's maximum containment policy in Daegu does not mean a lockdown of the city,after controversy over the term.
He said it means taking more thorough quarantine steps to block the transmission and spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent as possible.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.