South Korea’s daily new Covid-19 cases surged past six lakh on Thursday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Although figures slightly dropped on Friday, with 4,06,978 infections and 301 deaths, public opinion appeared to support the government’s plans to ease anti-virus measures in the coming days, Reuters reported.

Credit: Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency

Despite the Omicron-fueled surge, the government is mulling the option to rollback restrictions due to pressure from small businesses and self-employed residents who have been hurt by the pandemic. Yonhap News Agency reported

On February 18, a curfew on restaurants and cafes was moved from 9 pm to 10 pm, Al Jazeera reported. On Friday, it was further moved up till 11 pm.

“After heated discussion, we decided to make the mild adjustment on the number of people to help small businesses and self-employed people ease the pain and in consideration of the inconvenience to the general public,” Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said.

In its quest to bring back normalcy to everyday life, the government eased physical distancing norms as well. The country eased the cap on private gatherings to eight people from six.

While a latest public survey revealed that many citizens are expected to contract the virus in this wave, only a few said they fear any serious health consequences, Reuters reported.

The survey, conducted by the Seoul National University’s graduate school of public health, was released on Tuesday. It stated that 28% of South Koreans think they are likely to contract the virus. This is the highest number since the public surveys began in January 2020.

However, the study revealed that those who worry about contracting the virus was at its lowest, recorded at 48%, Reuters reported.

Professor Yoo Myung-soon, who led the study, said that “people’s awareness about the virus’ danger has clearly changed”.

Yoo added that the relatively low fatality rate due to the Omicron variant could be the reason why the people’s concerns are alleviated.

On Friday, Seoul reported 81,997 new infection cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province recording 1,13,673. The western port city of Incheon reported 25,797.

As of Friday, 32.26 million people out of the 52 million population, or 62.9%, had received booster shots. Over 85% of people have been fully vaccinated against the disease, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency announced.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that the rise in Covid-19 cases in some countries could be “the tip of the iceberg”. It warned that the “pandemic is not over”.