Medical personnel at a Gwangju coronavirus testing site prepare rapid antigen tests. [Photo: Newsis]
The quarantine period for people in South Korea who test positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated against the virus has been reduced from 10 to seven days.
Fully vaccinated means 90 days have passed since the second dose or 14 days have passed since the third dose.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, earlier announced the measure as the government reshapes its response to the pandemic to deal with a surge in cases fueled by the Omicron variant, which is more contagious than Delta but appears to cause less severe illness.
Under the new rules that take effect Wednesday, fully vaccinated individuals who come into close contact with confirmed coronavirus patients will not be placed in isolation.
But they will be required to report their daily health conditions to officials before receiving a PCR test within six or seven days.
Those who are not fully vaccinated are required to self-isolate for seven days if designated close contacts of a virus carrier and 10 days if they themselves test positive.
COVID-19 screening has also been streamlined, with PCR tests prioritized for high risk groups such as the elderly, while those who are asymptomatic get rapid antigen tests.
The new testing process is first being applied in Gwangju, South Jeolla Province, and the cities of Pyeongtaek and Anseong in Gyeonggi Province, where Omicron infection rates have been the highest, and will be expanded nationwide at the end of the month.