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(LEAD) Moon calls for enhanced containment measures to cope with spread of omicron variant

All News 15:36 January 20, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS remarks, details, photo from para 5)

CAIRO, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday instructed the government to employ all possible anti-epidemic measures against the spread of the omicron variant, saying the highly transmissible variant has become a dominant strain in South Korea.

"It's a fait accompli that the omicron has become a dominant strain," Moon said, according to presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.

Moon ordered the government to swiftly switch its anti-epidemic system to efficiently cope with the omicron and let the public know about the situation regarding the spread of the variant in detail, Park said.

Moon is in Cairo as part of a weeklong Middle East tour that already took him to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

While calling for the government's urgency in coping with omicron, Moon assured people the nation could overcome the threats of the omicron variant if utmost efforts are made to curb the spread of the variant.

Moon also thanked medical workers and people for cooperating with the government's containment measures, noting Thursday marked the second anniversary of the first reported COVID-19 case in South Korea.

People wait to take coronavirus tests at a makeshift testing center near Seoul Station in Seoul on Jan. 20, 2022. (Yonhap)

Daily virus cases had surged to almost 8,000 in mid-December last year, prompting the government to reimpose tighter virus curbs.

Since then, daily cases had been hovering around 3,000. However, daily cases jumped to over 6,000 for the first time in 27 days Thursday amid growing worries over the omicron variant.

Last week, omicron accounted for 26.7 percent of new infections in South Korea, The variant is expected to account for about 50 percent of new infections this week, and daily cases are likely to exceed 7,000, health authorities said.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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