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Korean Companies Take Precautions to Block COVID Surge After Holiday

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

Korean Companies Take Precautions to Block COVID Surge After Holiday

The ‘Land of the Morning Calm’ is not very calm because of COVID-19. Several South Korean companies have asked their staff to test themselves for COVID-19 before returning to work. The Lunar New Year celebration lasted three days in South Korea, with many citizens traveling to see family members. There are concerns among the companies that the holiday break could fuel the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant, raising South Korea COVID cases. 

Kakao Corp precautions

Kakao Corp has blocked employees from reporting for work for two weeks. The operator of South Korea’s favored chat app is concerned over the daily infections hitting record highs. Kakao employees are forbidden from entering their offices without approval until February 18. Employees will be required to self-diagnose with a test kit in a prepared space when back at work. They can enter only after a negative test result.

After February 18, Kakao will deliver 10 at-home test kits to each employee’s home so they can test themselves. These kits can be used 20 times and not using them bars the employees from entering their office.

Current Korean travel restrictions

South Korea recently tightened travel restrictions due to a spike in COVID cases thanks to the very contagious Omicron variant. Inbound passengers must present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours before departure. These changes are in effect until February 6 as Korean authorities anticipated a Lunar New Year spike.

Visitations at nursing homes have been banned while train operators may only sell limited tickets. Dine-in services at highway rest stops are prohibited while ferries are only allowed 50% of their capacity. Inbound travelers to South Korea must also use their own vehicle or designated buses, trains, or taxis instead of public transport to reach their residence upon arrival from January 20.

Facemasks are still mandatory in public places, indoor public areas, and public transport. Gatherings nationwide are limited to six people. Most entertainment facilities and dine-in venues must close by 9 pm. Venues and recreational establishments like casinos are open but must close by 10 pm. Most schools can only function at two-thirds capacity.

Other Korean companies

Aside from Kakao Corp., other Korean companies encouraged their respective employees to test themselves before returning to work. Energy group SK Innovation handed out at-home test kits ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. They asked their employees to test themselves and even recommended working from home.

Battery-maker LG Energy Solution also handed out at-home test kits before allowing employees to return to work. The Ministry of Health and Welfare as well as some government agencies took similar precautions.

South Korea COVID numbers

There have been 907,214 South Korea COVID cases reported with 6,812 deaths. The recoveries have reached 637,160. As of February 3, 22,904 new positive cases have been reported with 25 new deaths. These numbers are in line with the global spike in positive COVID cases that the Omicron variant has caused.

One hundred fourteen million (114M) vaccine doses have been given in South Korea with 44 million people fully vaccinated. A very high 85% of their population is now fully vaccinated.

The fatality rate of the Omicron variant in South Korea is 0.15%. That is about one-fifth of the 0.7% of the Delta variant, noted health ministry official Son Young-rae. “The number of confirmed cases is increasing rapidly due to the Omicron spread, but the medical system remains in a stable situation,” Son said.

Key Takeaways

Several South Korean companies are asking their employees to test themselves before returning from work. Many Koreans went on a holiday and traveled during the recent Lunar New Year celebrations. Kakao Corp. and other companies are taking measures to protect themselves and their employees. Some companies are enforcing a two-week break while others are distributing self-test kits before employees are allowed back at work. The Omicron variant is keeping South Korea COVID cases high, although most of the population is already fully vaccinated.

For more on Coronavirus, click here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

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