S. Korea expands fast testing amid file COVID infections

S. Korea expands fast testing amid file COVID infections

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Thursday started imposing a brand new coronavirus testing coverage centered on fast testing as well being officers reported a file variety of new infections following the Lunar New 12 months vacation.

The 22,907 new instances reported by the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company marked a second straight day of over 20,000 new infections and a couple of five-fold enhance from each day instances seen in mid-January, when the extremely contagious omicron variant first turned the nation’s dominant pressure.

Lengthy traces snaked round testing stations within the capital Seoul and different main cities, the place most individuals had been supplied fast antigen take a look at kits to make use of underneath the supervision of well being staff, who then authorized lab exams for anybody who examined optimistic.

Because the begin of the pandemic, South Korea’s testing regime had centered on PCR lab exams, that are thought-about most correct however require a lot of well being staff to manage nasal and throat swabs, and high-tech machines to research samples.

The brand new testing regime that began Thursday expands the usage of fast testing and is geared toward saving PCR lab exams for high-risk teams, together with individuals of their 60s and older or these with pre-existing medical situations.

Some specialists have opposed the brand new coverage, saying that fast exams aren’t delicate sufficient to reliably detect omicron infections and elevating issues that transmissions may worsen if individuals who return false unfavourable exams proceed to enterprise out in public.

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However well being officers say the nation should focus lab exams and different essential medical assets because of the pace of infections pushed by omicron. Officers are additionally increasing at-home remedies and have eased quarantine intervals for virus carriers and individuals who are available in shut contact with them, citing issues about main disruptions at workplaces and important providers if massive numbers of individuals are always positioned underneath quarantine.

Whereas omicron is spreading a lot sooner than earlier variations of the virus, the charges of hospitalization and demise have to this point been decrease than instances linked to delta, senior KDCA official Lim Sook-young stated throughout a briefing. Virus sufferers of their 60s or older accounted for round 8% of current infections, she stated, probably reflecting safety supplied by booster pictures.

Greater than 85% of South Korea’s 51 million individuals have been absolutely vaccinated and greater than 53% have obtained booster pictures.