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ON POINT: Doctor's take on current COVID-19 situation in S. Korea
Updated: 2022-01-24 05:43:19 KST
Now it's time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases on Sunday have been spiking in recent days, closing in on record highs as the Omicron variant increasingly makes its presence felt.
However, the number of deaths has been on a gradual decline and the number of critically ill patients across the whole of South Korea is just over 400 now, down from well over a thousand around a month ago.
As we just heard from our reporter, more people are now exempt from vaccine passes from this Monday.
Also, despite health authorities urging the public to avoid traveling if possible, a new poll has found that around 50 percent of office workers INSIST that and visit their hometowns over the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday anyway.
For more, we connect to Doctor Alice Tan, Internist at MizMedi Women's Hospital in Seoul.

Doctor, let's start with the people who will travel over the holiday. They are choosing to travel regardless of what health officials say. Do you think this is down to pandemic fatigue?

We are seeing a rise in cases, but receding numbers of deaths and the critically ill. Is this because of Omicron? Compared to Delta, how many people have been hospitalized in South Korea due to the new strain?

Moving on to vaccine passes. Courts have overturned many of the government's previous orders - namely for department stores and big supermarkets - and now we have more exemptions.
What do you think about this? do you think the system should be simplified or perhaps even revoked altogether?

Finally, a number of countries are doing away with vaccine passes and compulsory mask wearing, citing the relatively mild health effects of Omicron. In your opinion, at what point should South Korea start considering doing the same?

Doctor Tan, as always, we are grateful for your insights and thanks for joining us.
Reporter : markbroome@arirang.co.kr