President Moon Jae-in has called on the government to speed up its response against the Omicron variant that's fast spreading in the country.
He chaired an Omicron response meeting Wednesday to review the situation himself before South Korea starts its Lunar New Year holiday.
"President Moon stressed that the government must speed up decision-making regarding response measures against the Omicron variant. Looking at the domestic situation, the rates of severe cases and fatalities are low due to the high rates of vaccination and booster shots among our senior citizens. The president said there's a need to let people know about this so they are not overly concerned."
President Moon also highlighted the need to secure enough hospital beds, especially for children, due to a sudden increase in the number of new patients.
He also called on the government to keep close tabs on the production of self-testing kits, noting the risk of a disruption in supply.
Moon also called on his aides to consider providing free self-test kits to low-income people or cutting the price.
The top office also quoted Moon as saying that assessments of South Korea's COVID-19 response will depend on how it deals with Omicron.
Moon said that while it's important for people not to let down their guard they also should not get overly worried, noting that the government has been preparing for the past month.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.