December 13, 2023
SEOUL – The head of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Tuesday that the government may downgrade the infectious disease notification level of COVID-19 from the current second-highest level of “alert” to the third-highest of “caution.”
“We (the government) are currently discussing the downgrade. Exactly when it will take place hasn’t been decided yet, but we’re watching the situation and thinking it should be after the winter season (sometime next year), which is when infectious respiratory diseases are prevalent,” KDCA Ji Young-mi said in a meeting with reporters held in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
“Even after the level has been lowered, things will not immediately go back to normal and proper measures will be discussed.”
Ji’s comment follows an earlier media report that the government would hold a discussion on lowering the notification level during a meeting this Friday.
South Korea has a four-level notification system for dealing with infectious diseases: “attention,” “caution,” “alert” and “serious” from lowest to highest. COVID-19 had been at the highest level since February 2020 before being downgraded to the “alert” level on June 1 this year.
The measure was followed by the government officially categorizing COVID-19 as a class four infectious disease on Aug. 31, the lowest in the four-tier classification system.
Ji explained Thursday that with a downgrade, the disease will be managed on the KDCA level instead of the current system of being managed by the Central Accident Response Headquarter of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.