The omicron variant may become the dominant strain in the country within one or two weeks, which could lead to another huge wave of COVID-19 infections.
That's according to senior health ministry official Son Young-rae Thursday, who projected that omicron cases will likely soar to over 50 percent of all cases from the current 12 percent in the next week or two, which could mean the start of the fifth wave of the pandemic.
He analyzed that it's important to reduce infections as much as possible before this wave begins, but said he's unsure how long the nation will be able to keep numbers down amid rapidly rising omicron cases.
Hospital operations remain stable with the occupancy rate hovering below 40 percent nationwide. The government is seeking to further lower the rate before the omicron variant becomes the dominant strain.