The South Korean government has decided to lower the age of eligibility for antiviral pills for the treatment of COVID-19 to deal with the threat posed by the Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced Friday adults aged 60 and older can be prescribed the oral medication.
Since the country received its first batch of Pfizer's anti-COVID pill last week, it has been administered to those 65 and older and immunocompromised people at high risk.
During an interagency COVID response meeting, Kim suggested it's inevitable that cases will rise because of Omicron.
He said the government's strategy is to "lower the height of a massive wave" of Omicron by focusing on quarantine efforts to keep down the numbers of critical cases and deaths.
In line with this, Kim said COVID pills will be more widely distributed to nursing homes and hospitals, and not just used for home care or at community treatment centers.
In addition, he said virus testing will be streamlined to better respond to an Omicron surge, with local COVID-19 screening centers also offering rapid antigen tests to those who are asymptomatic.