Right Soa thank you for those tallies.
AS EXPECTED we DELVE NOW into the COVID-19 situation here in Korea.
I have Shin YE-EUN with me in the studio for that.
Great to be here Sunny.
Let's begin with remarks by President Moon Jae-in who as you mentioned on Wednesday hosted a meeting to address the country's OMICRON containment effort?
That's right, Sunny.
President Moon called an emergency meeting at the Blue House Wednesday afternoon, where he was joined by top government officials, like the education minister and the 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 also called on local governments to prepare themselves ahead of changes in the country's testing protocols.
He specifically urged authorities to have enough rapid antigen test kits ready, which will become the primary method of screening for most people.
He also highlighted the need to secure enough hospital beds, especially for children amid the surge in our daily tallies.
A top Blue House official told reporters following the President's meeting that discussions there had left the door open to possible changes in our current prevention strategy.
This could also include different ways of compiling COVID-19-related data, like categorizing serious illnesses and deaths by age group those over the age of 50, and those below, for example.
And YE-EUN do touch upon the importance of rapid antigen testings as we seek to contain OMICRON.
Authorities have determined that Omicron may trigger an exponential rise in cases, and strain our PCR testing capacity..
So, for regular screening purposes on young, healthy people they have decided to replace PCR tests with rapid antigen diagnostic kits.
Only those over 60, at high-risk, or those with a suspected infection will be able to receive a PCR test.
This measure had first taken effect in four parts of Korea that have been hit hardest by the Omicron variant.
The new testing method will be made compulsory nationwide from February 3rd.
Rapid antigen test kits will be available for use at testing centers and even local clinics.