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PM calls for adjusting infectious disease level of COVID-19 amid surging cases

All News 09:46 March 16, 2022

SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Wednesday asked health officials to consider adjusting the infectious disease level of COVID-19 to better cope with surging cases.

The novel coronavirus is currently classified as "Class 1 infectious disease," the highest in the four-tier classification that falls under the same category with diseases like the Ebola virus and the Middle East respiratory syndrome.

The Class 1 infection diseases require high-level isolation, such as negative pressure isolation, and immediate reporting on the outbreak.

But some doctors pointed out it is difficult to meet response measures required for the Class 1 infection diseases as the daily COVID-19 cases are over 400,000, while most treatments are currently carried out by small clinics that do not have enough medical resources.

"To better deal with COVID-19 under our response system, I ask health authorities to start discussing adjusting the infection disease level of COVID-19 with the medical community," Kim said.

Health authorities recently allowed virus patients hospitalized with minor symptoms to receive treatment at general hospital wards in a move to focus their medical resources on reducing serious COVID-19 patients and deaths.

Citing experts, Kim said the current COVID-19 wave driven by the omicron variant is expected to pass its peak soon.

Kim said the government will also announce its decision on social distancing measures on Friday.

Prime Minister Kim Boo Kyum speaks during a COVID-19 response meeting in Sejong on March 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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