‘With Corona’ put on holdThe second stage of the so-called “With Corona” policy of three-phase normalization, scheduled for mid-December, was put off for four weeks due to the arrival of a powerful variant called Omicron. The special four-week quarantine measure calls for people infected with Covid-19 to stay at home until they are recovered unless they are deemed gravely ill. That translates into a move trying to victimize the people for the slack government response.
Chairing a special meeting on quarantine actions Monday, President Moon Jae-in said the country faces its more serious challenge yet. After the first-stage of easing of social restrictions, new infection cases surged and the number of critically ill patients and deaths hit record-highs. The Omicron variant is believed to be five-times more contagious than other Covid-19 variants.
The urgent measures demand that all adults of 18 years or older receive a booster shot, patients basically be treated from home, and the government hasten commercialization and distribution of oral treatment. The decision on whether to restrict use and business hours of public facilities like restaurants, the number of people allowed in a private gathering, and enforcing the so-called “vaccine pass” to teenagers was suspended for now.
The new measure requiring adults to get a third shot and increasing vaccinations for teenagers as well as children under 12 could cause another vaccine crisis. The government has stock for 15 million. Even when additional supplies are secured, the increased need for vaccinations could cause supply unrest.
The plan to have all patients treated at home regardless of their wishes is also controversial. The government will allow hospitalization dependent upon the gravity of illness and other conditions, but that would restrict the civilian right in healthcare. The government said it will temporarily run treatment centers for outpatients and prescribe treatments. But innocent victims may arise due to the vacuum in medical care.
The government is facing criticism for passing the liability onto the people after failing to take the preemptive actions of increasing hospital beds for the critically ill. Moon said the hospital resources have become short due to a surge in new patients and the seriously ill. But we hear no apologies from the president, health minister or the commissioner of the Korea Agency of Disease Prevention and Control. Authorities must make a more convincing move if they want to draw support for urgent measures.