From the end of May, even if you are infected with COVID-19, you will be able to receive face-to-face treatment at all hospitals and clinics while living your daily life without being isolated.

The transition to the general medical system in all areas of diagnosis, examination, and treatment (3T) is not possible, with COVID-19 being excluded from the class 1 infectious disease, which is subject to the highest level of isolation, and designated as a class 2 infectious disease, and the treatment cost is also borne by the person himself/herself. is done.

The government announced today (15th) the 'Post Omicron Response Plan', which contains a strategy to make the quarantine and medical systems routine in the long term.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (critical script) said, "We have fully understood the characteristics of Omicron, and have been equipped with effective weapons such as vaccines and therapeutics." We will promote the transition to a general medical system so that patients can be diagnosed and treated at the clinic,” he said.

Today's announcement is an official declaration of the 'recovery of the daily medical system' after two years and three months since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Korea. I did.

First of all, the government designates COVID-19 as a second-grade infectious disease by amending the notice on the 25th of this month.

In case of a second-grade infectious disease such as tuberculosis, measles, cholera, or chickenpox, the obligation to isolate for 7 days and immediately report the patient to a medical institution when confirmed, which was applied in the first-grade infectious disease, will be removed.

'Recommendation' instead of 'mandatory' quarantine

Because there is no quarantine, government support for living expenses, paid vacation expenses, and medical expenses will also end.

Until now, outpatient and inpatient treatment were free of hospital fees, but in the future, the health insurance and the patient themselves will pay the same.

Basically, COVID-19 testing and diagnosis are carried out at private medical institutions, and public health centers are only in charge of PCR (gene amplification) of high-risk groups such as those aged 60 and over and workers in nursing hospitals and facilities.

As all medical institutions are freely used, the concept of 'home treatment' disappears.

However, for the time being, confirmed patients can call local hospitals and clinics as now and receive treatment and prescriptions non-face-to-face.

Such medical and quarantine management, equivalent to a second-grade infectious disease, will be implemented from the 23rd of next month at the earliest.

The government designated the 'preparation period' until just before the 25th of this month, when Corona 19 is designated as the second-grade, and the 'transition period' for 4 weeks after the 25th, preparing for the transition to the medical system in stages, and preparations for the implementation of the post-omicron strategy are at the completion stage. The policy is to declare a 'settling period' as soon as possible.

During the transition period, the current management system, such as the 7-day quarantine for confirmed cases, home treatment for high-risk groups, and support for treatment and living expenses, will be maintained.

The transition period may be later than planned depending on the COVID-19 epidemic situation and the speed of system transition.

The inpatient treatment system for confirmed patients will be reorganized with a focus on critically ill beds.

Currently, a total of 32,802 beds have been designated as dedicated beds for COVID-19, but when they settle down, the hospital beds for infectious diseases where mild patients were hospitalized disappear, and only 4191 beds for patients with severe, semi-severe, and moderate symptoms are available. It remains.

These 4,000 beds are intensively used for the management of critically ill patients with COVID-19 as national quarantine beds, emergency beds, and base hospital beds.

Inspection of foreign entrants is also simplified.

Arrivals are currently undergoing PCR testing on the first day of entry and rapid antigen testing on the 6th to 7th days of entry.

In order to minimize the death and damage of residents of nursing hospitals and facilities, the government immediately dispatches a 'mobility task force team' in the event of a cluster infection, and implements a 'fast track ' We decided to build a system.

In addition, once the Omicron epidemic is completely stabilized, visits, outings, and overnight stays are allowed at nursing facilities and hospitals, and the operation of leisure welfare facilities for the elderly will also be normalized, centering on the third inoculation.

The government's post-omicron declaration is based on the judgment that the COVID-19 epidemic has completely passed its peak and is heading towards an endemic disease.

The number of new confirmed cases peaked at an average of 404,604 daily in the third week of last month, then turned to a downward trend, dropping to the level of 218,500 last week.

Today we recorded 125,846 people.

The government analyzed that the number of new confirmed cases will remain at 50,000 to 100,000 for a considerable period of time, continuing a moderate decline, and the number of severe cases and deaths will also continue to decrease.

However, seasonal factors such as the emergence of new mutations, reduction of inoculation and natural immunity effects over time, increased indoor activity, and simultaneous epidemics such as influenza/respiratory syncytial virus RSV are considered risk factors.

The government said that it would restrict entry if a strong new mutation occurs, and, if necessary, reintroduce 3T (test, trace, quarantine, treatment), social distancing, and home treatment.

Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom said, "The government will strengthen the monitoring system in preparation for new mutations and re-infections while promoting daily recovery, and promptly restart medical resources when a crisis is detected." Please do not forget and continue to abide by the quarantine rules."

In the medical world, there are also opinions that it is not desirable to quickly change the quarantine, hospitalization, and hospital bed policies within a month when there are still more than 100,000 confirmed cases.

Eom Joong-sik, professor of infectious disease at Gachon University Gil Hospital, said, "The number of confirmed cases has decreased a lot recently, but there are still more than 100,000, and the number of infected people with transmission power in the community is considerable. "It will increase the burden on the site, and in some cases, it may lead to a resurgence of confirmed cases," he said.