As the COVID-19 Omicron mutation rises as the dominant species in Korea, the transition to the Omicron response quarantine system, such as PCR (gene amplification) testing centered on high-risk groups, will be expanded nationwide at the end of this month.

Jung Eun-kyung, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said at a regular briefing today (24th), "We are undertaking two major reforms in relation to the diagnostic test system. We are preparing to establish a separate system that has a separate system and to receive additional tests when receiving treatment at a local medical institution.”

Director Jeong replied, "In some regions, this system transition will be applied from the 26th, and nationwide, we are preparing to expand the implementation from the end of January to the beginning of February at the earliest."

He said, "The part of conducting diagnostic tests at local medical institutions or respiratory clinics will be expanded sequentially according to the preparation status of each medical institution." We will have a response system in place,” he explained.

The government announced earlier on the 26th that it would first convert the quarantine system from the existing delta system to the Omicron response system in four regions across the country, including Gwangju, Jeonnam, Pyeongtaek, and Anseong, where the detection rate of Omicron mutations is particularly high.

Accordingly, in these four regions, only high-risk groups such as the elderly 60 years of age or older and close contacts are required to undergo PCR testing. will be reorganized, and this inspection system reorganization will be expanded nationwide from the end of this month at the earliest.

From the 26th, the self-quarantine period for confirmed cases and close contacts will be shortened or exempted depending on their vaccination history.

In a briefing on the same day, Bang Dae-bon announced that the quarantine guidelines would be changed so that among the confirmed cases, those who have been vaccinated will be quarantined for 7 days, and those who have not been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated will be quarantined for 10 days.

Also, in the case of close contacts of the confirmed person, if vaccination is completed, it will switch to passive monitoring without self-quarantine, and those who have not been vaccinated among close contacts will be quarantined for 7 days.

In these cases, regardless of the vaccination history, PCR (gene amplification) test is performed on the 6th to 7th day.

In the past, contacts of Omicron infected persons were required to be quarantined for 10 days regardless of their vaccination history.

The script also provided guidelines for wearing a mask suitable for the situation once again.

In daily life, it is recommended to wear a health mask of KF80 or higher or a mask for surgery/droplet blocking, but if you visit a 3-mil (dense/close/closed) facility or a facility susceptible to infection, or have an underlying disease such as cardiovascular disease, a KF94 or KF80 mask It is recommended to wear it first.

In particular, during the Lunar New Year holiday, when traveling, such as when using public transportation, the script urged people to wear a KF80 or higher mask.

Covering the face with winter cold protection products such as a neck warmer or balaclava is not recognized as wearing a mask, and it is not recommended to use it with other accessories such as a mask guard, Bangdaebon explained.

(Photo = provided by the Central Defense Countermeasures Headquarters, Yonhap News)