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Moon calls for readiness against spread of omicron

Politics 16:00 December 21, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called on the government Tuesday to prepare for the scenario of the omicron variant becoming the dominant version of COVID-19 in the country while making sure to reinforce the country's medical capacity.

Moon made the remarks at a Cabinet meeting held after the country reported 49 new omicron cases, bringing the accumulated total to 227.

South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases have recently hovered in the 7,000's, marked by alarming growth in the number of critically ill patients and deaths.

"We must prepare, bearing in mind that the omicron variant may soon become the general trend," Moon said. "COVID-19 can spread at any time if we allow even the slightest crack."

Moon repeated his calls for reinforcing the medical response system, saying the current period of strict social distancing rules must be used to quickly bring the virus situation under control and reduce the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Moon was referring to the government's decision last week to halt its program for a phased return to normal and restore curfews on business hours while reducing the maximum private gathering size to four.

"We must check the areas where we fell short, learn the lessons and realign our line of battle," he said.

Moon's message came a day after he instructed national university hospitals to focus their resources on treating critically ill COVID-19 patients as many of them have experienced a shortage of beds.

Moon said he is encouraged by the increased vaccination rate, especially in the administration of booster shots and inoculation of children.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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