SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The authorities is lastly – and belatedly – shifting to halt the phased program for a return to regular that started final month regardless of a flurry of warnings from medical consultants and was adopted by a document surge in new Covid-19 circumstances and deaths amid worries in regards to the new omicron variant.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum stated Wednesday (Dec 15) the federal government considers the present virus state of affairs as “very serious” and can implement stricter social distancing guidelines.
Details of latest toughened social distancing measures, together with diminished limits on non-public gatherings and curfews on enterprise hours, are set to be introduced Friday and enforced for the following two weeks.
The reversal of the social distancing program is, if something, a reluctant admission by the Moon Jae-in administration that its hasty and short-sighted loosening of social distancing restrictions resulted in failure.
The much-touted “Living with Covid-19” scheme turned out to be a short-lived, pricey experiment that sickened many extra residents and introduced the nation’s already taxed medical system to a digital paralysis.
Since Nov 1 when the restrictions had been lifted, virus-related knowledge has sounded alarms for nearly all classes. The variety of new infections and the dying toll stored rising, whereas the intensive care beds for struggling sufferers dried up.
Collateral injury was additionally reported as sufferers with extreme diseases not linked to Covid-19 had been unable to get correct therapy or surgical procedure because of the lack of medical employees and hospital beds.
For all of the dire warning indicators, President Moon remained overly optimistic in regards to the state of affairs, as revealed in a city corridor assembly late final month. At the time, the variety of new circumstances had stayed above 3,000 for 5 days in a row however Moon didn’t have a way of urgency, saying the federal government was “anticipating that the daily cases could rise as high as 5,000 or 10,000.”
In retrospect, it’s deeply regrettable that Moon then stated the nation “will not stop the gradual return to daily life just because the number of confirmed cases rises.” Moon’s overconfidence in regards to the nation’s coronavirus insurance policies was not new.
He earlier stated Korea was responding to the virus “better than any other advanced country.” While Moon was preoccupied with the success of the “K-quarantine,” the variety of circumstances exploded and the return to regular proved untenable.
The authorities – belatedly once more – expanded using the virus move and diminished the utmost variety of non-public gatherings to 6 on Dec. 6, however the unfavorable development has not proven any indicators of abating.
On Wednesday, the each day virus circumstances hit a recent excessive of seven,850, in contrast with 1,684 recorded on Nov 1. The variety of critically sick sufferers additionally reached an all-time excessive of 964. There had been 70 deaths, down from a document excessive of 94 a day earlier.
The nation’s medical system can also be battling a scarcity of employees and an inflow of Covid-19 sufferers. To forestall the well being care system from collapsing, the federal government now requires all Covid-19 sufferers with much less extreme signs to remain residence for self-isolation.
For the at-home care program to work, correct monitoring and screening for sufferers who want in-hospital care ought to be finished, however this job is more likely to be tougher than beforehand thought if new circumstances proceed to rise.
The outlook stays grim. If the present virus development goes unchecked, the nation might see each day circumstances reaching 10,000 by the top of December, based on medical consultants.
The authorities has to tighten restrictions and take well timed measures to scale back the dying toll and assist sufferers get much-needed therapy. Considering the worsening state of affairs, there isn’t a room for hesitation.
The Korea Herald is a member of The Straits Times media accomplice Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 information media organisations.