South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Wednesday the country’s Covid-19 situation is worse than expected, especially in the capital area, urging health authorities to beef up containment measures.
Kim issued the warning as the country’s daily Covid-19 cases hit an all-time high of 4,117, with the number of critical ill patients also reaching a new record of 586, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The cases confirmed in the capital area, which includes the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon, accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the country’s daily virus caseload, with Seoul alone reporting 1,735 cases.
Kim said the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s population, is in an urgent situation and needs to consider imposing an emergency response plan based on health authorities’ virus risk assessment.
The surge in daily cases came amid eased social distancing after the government started to initiate its first phase of the “living with Covid-19” scheme for people’s gradual return to normal life from this month.
“Our gradual return to normal life has faced its first hurdle,” Kim said during a Covid response meeting in Sejong.
“We are at a point to review whether we should move to the next phase or not, but the situation is more serious than we expected.
“We should beef up support measures so that asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms can have treatments at home safely,” he said.
Kim also urged people, particularly senior citizens, to get booster Covid-19 vaccines shots, as the number of breakthrough cases is also rising.