South Korea is expecting to see daily COVID-19 figures reach another record-high on Thursday.
This time reaching around 15-thousand new cases.
For more on this and related updates, we have our reporter Shin Ye-eun with us. Good morning.
Start us off with how many new infections we're expecting to see today.
We're expecting to see the daily tally for this Thursday surpass 15-thousand.
Up to 9 pm Wednesday, 12-thousand 4-hundred 10 infections were reported.
This was a jump of more than 3-thousand 1-hundred 90 from the same time one day earlier which marked the third straight day figures reached an all-time high.
We've been seeing a surge in the number of infections ever since the Omicron variant became the dominant strain in the country.
President Moon Jae-in held a meeting at the Blue House Wednesdaygathering officials to discuss the situation. Tell us what was discussed.
President Moon tried to tackle the Omicron situation head-on by holding an emergency meeting at the Blue House Wednesday afternoon.
He was joined by many representatives from authorities including the Education Minister and KDCA commissioner.
This was President Moon's first in-person meeting following his return from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
A host of issues were discussed, ranging from the country's response to the Omicron variant, especially ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday to ways of making efficient use of our limited medical resources.
President Moon asked local governments to make sure they were prepared ahead of launching the new testing strategy nationwide.
He specifically urged authorities to prepare enough rapid antigen tests that will now work as the new virus screening method for most people.
He also highlighted the need to secure enough hospital beds, especially for children, due to a sudden increase in the number of new patients.
A top official from the Blue House told reporters following the meeting that discussions did allow some room for changes to the current pandemic strategy.
The official said there may be a change in how authorities report daily COVID-19 figures.
There is a possibility that authorities will now categorize the number of critically ill and deaths by age group.
Specifically, releasing the data from two groups, those over the age of 50, and those below.
I'd like to return to what you mentioned earlier. The President has asked local governments to prepare enough rapid antigen test kits, in advance. Explain to us why.
Rapid antigen test kits will replace PCR tests under the government's latest Omicron-tailored virus prevention measures.
Authorities have determined the spread of Omicron will increase the caseload exponentially making it nearly impossible to test everyone with a PCR test.
Take a listen to how the top health authority explained what the latest virus prevention measures entail.
“The goals of our containment strategy against the Omicron variant… will be to minimize the number of serious illnesses and deaths,… prevent saturation and collapse in our healthcare system,… and mitigate any socioeconomic impacts, by limiting the scale of the outbreak the best we can… as Korea’s outbreak transitions into the Omicron phase.”
To efficiently utilize limited medical and quarantine resourcesauthorities have decided to only test people over 60, those at high-risk or those suspected to be infected with a PCR test.
Everyone else will have to use a rapid antigen test kit at testing sites instead.
And four parts of South Korea that have been hit the hardest were the first to implement rapid antigen test kits as the new screening method on Wednesday.
They were Pyeongtaek and Anseong cities in Gyeonggi-do Province, Gwangju and Jeollanam-do Province.
This measure will be expanded nationwide from February 3rd.
And these kits won't just be available at testing sitesbut also local hospitals and clinics.
For those who want to try a rapid antigen test in advanceyou can do so from this Saturday because some 2-hundred 56 testing sites nationwide will have them ready for use.
Alright, thank you for your report as always.