South Korea takes new approach as infections reach new high

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South Korea on Wednesday began enforcing new Covid-19 response measures, including reduced quarantine periods and expanded rapid testing, as its new cases jumped nearly 50 per cent in a day.

The 13,012 new cases were 4,400 more than the previous single-day high of 8,571 set on Tuesday. It underscores the speed of transmissions driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, which became the country’s dominant strain just last week.

South Korea also has a high vaccination rate. More than 85 per cent of South Korea’s more than 51 million people have been fully vaccinated and more than 50 per cent of the population have received booster shots.

Rapid test kits have been made available at public health offices, testing stations and pharmacies and receive PCR when those tests are positive.

Unlike New Zealand South Korea never closed its borders to foreign visitors. The Korean economy was one of the few not to have significant negative growth during the pandemic.

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