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For the past two years, South Korea waged a successful battle against COVID-19 with a so-called three-T strategy: it ramped up lab “tests” to ferret out infections, it “traced” contacts using modern technology, and it “treated” patients by keeping them in quarantine, where they were monitored by the government.

But as the fast-spreading omicron variant threatens to overwhelm the public health system, that strategy now appears unsustainable — and it may even be pointless, South Korean officials say. Now, they are shifting the country’s pandemic focus to a new game plan: “select and focus.”

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