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S. Korea could make 'big adjustments' to virus measures over omicron variant: official

All News 14:06 December 01, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea could make "big adjustments" to its virus prevention measures if the number of omicron coronavirus variant cases spike in the country, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Wednesday.

"We discussed such an issue during a special virus response meeting presided over by President Moon Jae-in on Nov. 29," Park Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for communication, told a YouTube channel of a local news outlet. "We have completed our review (on the issue)."

Last month, Moon said the country cannot "retreat to the past" by reversing the gradual return to normal life, hinting it may not tighten antivirus measures.

But with the increasing threat of the omicron variant, believed to be more contagious than other variants, Park's comments suggest that options of reinforcing social distancing measures are apparently on the table depending on circumstances.

South Korea has yet to confirm an omicron variant case.

The country started to ease social distancing measures in November following its initiation of its "living with COVID-19" scheme aimed for helping people's gradual return to normalcy.

"Opinions on the omicron variant are divided, with some experts saying it is more contagious, but its dangerousness is not that big," Park said. "It is difficult to judge the risk at this point, but we should share information and make a swift response in advance."

Regarding opposition party's suspicion of the government not properly announcing the country's virus situation due to next year's presidential election, Park strongly downplayed the claim.

"How can you connect this problem with the election?" he asked. "That is a very creative idea."

Health officials in protective suits work at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Dec. 1, 2021. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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