President Moon Jae-in sought public understanding and cooperation for the government's decision to reintroduce special quarantine measures just one month into a transition to living with COVID-19.
Presiding over a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Moon emphasized that the decision to tighten social distancing was inevitable, saying that the measure took into account their impact on small business owners.
Earlier, the government imposed stricter gathering restrictions, and expanded the COVID-19 vaccine pass system, in response to the latest uptick in cases and the emergence of the new omicron variant.
In an apparent reference to a backlash from teens and parents as the government plans to apply the pass system to those aged 12 to 18 starting in February, Moon stressed that the vaccine is the most effective measure.
Stating that the next four weeks will be vital in determining the direction of quarantine against the omicron strain, the president called for the public's support in preemptively halting a further spread of the variant as well as their help in stabilizing medical treatment protocols.