Seven-day quarantine for Covid patients extended for another month
The extension comes as the nation counted 25,125 new infections Thursday, nearly half of which came from the Seoul metropolitan area encompassing Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi.
The mandatory seven-day isolation is among some of the last remaining Covid rules that Korean health officials have yet to scrap, as new daily cases remain in the tens of thousands.
In a Friday briefing, officials at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters cited the discovery of new virus variants and the continuing Omicron wave as key reasons why it was too early to lift quarantine.
Authorities also stressed that if they do ditch the isolation, cases could explode to more than four times the current level between June and July. Even if the order stays put, officials said cases are likely to peak again between September and October due to waning immunity.
The headquarters said it would “reassess the situation” in four weeks to determine whether the quarantine policy will remain.
On the in-door mask mandate, Son Young-rae, a senior official at the headquarters, said the lifting of the measure any time soon wasn’t being discussed at all.
Among Thursday’s new infections, Gyeonggi accounted for 6,007, Seoul 4,110 and Incheon 1,149. North Gyeongsang tallied 1,678 new cases, South Gyeongsang 1,509 and Gangwon 1,268.
Out of the nation’s 17 major cities and provinces, Sejong and Jeju Island were the only areas that registered less than 500 cases.
A total of 43 Covid patients died Thursday.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]