South Korea to receive antiviral COVID-19 pills

South Korea on Friday announced its purchase of antiviral COVID-19 medicine that health authorities approved for emergency usage last month, local media said, Anadolu Agency reports.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced during a meeting on the country's COVID-19 response in the capital Seoul that the first shipment of 1 million antiviral pills would arrive next week, according to Yonhap News Agency.

"We will make sure they can be used swiftly in the medical field," the agency quoted Kim as saying.

South Korea has already signed a pre-purchase agreement with American pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and MSD to get over 1 million Paxlovid pills for patients.

Last month, the country's drug safety agency approved the emergency use of Pfizer's anti-coronavirus drug, the first oral medication to be used for coronavirus patients in South Korea.

Currently, South Korea is battling the delta and omicron variants, reporting 3,717 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 657,508, according to Health Ministry data.

With 45 more fatalities, the death toll has now risen to 5,932.

Earlier this week, it reported its first death linked to the new omicron strain, prompting authorities to speed up booster shots to protect people against the severe impact of the new variant.

According to the agency, 42.84 million people, or 83.5% of the country's 52 million population, have been fully vaccinated.


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