The government forecasts that daily COVID-19 cases will surge around the Lunar New Year holiday, which runs from January 31 to February 2, amid an accelerated transmission of the omicron variant.
Senior health ministry official Son Young-rae said on Wednesday that omicron will likely replace the delta variant as the dominant strain during the current social distancing period set to end after the holiday.
Son said the omicron spread is growing faster outside the capital region. The variant is already dominant in the southwestern Jeolla region, taking up 59-point-two percent of all cases. In the Seoul metropolitan area, the ratio is at 19-point-six percent.
The government plans to redirect focus toward managing critical cases, rather than curbing transmission.
As such, omicron patients will be treated at home starting Wednesday, while seniors and those with existing health conditions will be given treatment priority at state facilities.