Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum urged the public to refrain from visiting hometowns as well as other travels during the Lunar New Year holiday amid the accelerated transmission of the omicron variant.
In a public address on Monday, Kim asked the public to cancel or delay gatherings with family during the holiday that begins this weekend in the interest of everyone's health and safety.
Expressing apology for having to make the request again this year, the prime minister also repeatedly urged vigilance, citing a 38-percent jump in new COVID-19 cases following the Chuseok holiday last fall.
With the omicron variant at play, he said a national movement of people is akin to pouring oil onto a flaming fire.
For those who must visit their hometowns, Kim said they should get their booster shots and get tested in advance, while refraining from using public transportation and spending as little time as possible at rest stops.
He also asked those who have returned from traveling to avoid visits to multipurpose facilities and to get tested before resuming daily activities.