South Korea would consider expanding home treatment of COVID-19 patients as infections skyrocketed this month after the government has eased restrictions under the “living with COVID-19” scheme in November.
Senior Health Ministry official Son Young-rae said hospital capacity is under strain as both new daily infections and severe cases hit record highs.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths on Tuesday, topping for the first time the 7,000 daily infections and hospitals treated a record 840 critical cases.
Son said the government might have to make significant adjustments to the healthcare system if daily cases top 10,000 and consider expanding at-home treatment from around 50%, as four-fifths of COVID-19 patients have no symptom or only mild symptoms.
At a COVID-19 response meeting, South Korea Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said the government would mobilize additional personnel to oversee coronavirus patients under home care and respond to those who develop severe symptoms and need hospital transfer.
Kim also urged the elderly to get booster shots and adolescents to get vaccinated.
South Korea has confirmed 38 cases of the Omicron variant.
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