ON POINT: Doctor's take on current COVID-19 situation in S. Korea
Updated: 2022-01-17 04:53:44 KST
Now it's time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
South Korea's new daily COVID-19 infections remained over 4,000 for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday.
Officials say they are on guard for a potential uptick in cases ahead of the five-day Lunar New Year holiday, which starts at the end of the month.
Some good news is that the number of critically ill patients has been falling relatively quickly, down from well over a thousand a couple of weeks ago to just over 600 now.
Like we've touched upon, revised social distancing rules are now in place.
They started today, and will run through February 6th, which takes it past the end of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and cafes stays in place, but the limit on the size of private gatherings has been lifted to six from four, presumably so families can get together more easily.
For more, we connect to Doctor Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital in Seoul.
Doctor, I want to start with the new social distancing measures. They seem to have been drawn up with the upcoming holiday in mind. Are you concerned about another uptick after the holiday and would you suggest people refrain from traveling around the country during the period?
We've been seeing a rise in the number of imported cases in recent weeks. This is being attributed to the spread of the Omicron strain internationally. Are the majority of the new cases in South Korea still Delta or is it Omicron now?
How do treatment measures differ in South Korea between patients who have Omicron compared to Delta? And for people who have Omicron, but are asymptomatic, what is the protocol? Just self-isolation at home?
Finally, South Korea recently approved use of the Novavax vaccine, which unlike Pfizer or Moderna, is not an mRNA vaccine. Can you explain the difference between the two?
Doctor Tan, as always, we are grateful for your insights and thanks for joining us.