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South Korea limits Covid-19 care

South Korea will limit Covid-19 care to those who are over the age of 60 or have underlying health conditions from Thursday, with the rest of cases forced to undergo ‘self-treatment’ at home as cases of the Omicron variant rise.

‘Low-risk’ cases – or those with Covid-19 who are under the age of 60 and without pre-existing conditions – will be required to monitor their own symptoms and provide their own care while quarantined at home, with government officials citing limited resources behind the change in policy.

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Son Young-rae, a spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, advised low-risk groups to “prepare an antipyretic agent or a thermometer to watch out for a rapid increase in body temperature” on Thursday.

Low-risk cases were also told to “contact a medical institution immediately” if they develop any respiratory symptoms.

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Son explained that South Korea’s previous scheme, which provided care to all, “is no longer realistic in light of our limited resources, and takes massive social and economic costs compared with our medical needs.”

South Korea’s Covid-19 cases have shot up exponentially over the past month, with the country recording its highest number this week since the start of the pandemic. Over 50,000 Covid-19 cases were recorded on Wednesday – a massive increase over early January, when daily numbers were in the low thousands.

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