S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases above 300,000 for 4th day amid Omicron spread
SEOUL — South Korea’s new daily COVID-19 cases stayed above 300,000 for four straight days Tuesday as the country battles through the worst virus wave yet, sparked by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The country added 362,338 new COVID-19 infections, mostly locally transmitted, putting the total caseload at 7,228,550, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Tuesday’s tally marks the second-highest daily count after the all-time high of 383,664 reported Saturday. It’s also a big jump from the previous day’s 309,780. The daily counts tend to fall on Mondays due to fewer tests on the weekend before rising sharply toward the end of the week.
The death toll from COVID-19 hit a record high of 293, up 93 from Monday, with the total at 10,888. The fatality rate came to 0.15 percent.
The number of critically ill patients also reached an all-time high of 1,196, up 38 from the previous day.
South Korea has seen a spike in the COVID-19 caseload since the beginning of this year, with the numbers surging from four digits to six digits in about three weeks last month.
The focus now in the fight against COVID-19 has been about how to bring back everyday life as much as possible while maintaining steps to rein in the virus surge.
The government announced children aged between 5 and 11 will be able to receive vaccine shots starting March 31. It began to allow uninfected students and school staff members to attend school in person even if family members who live with them are virus positive.
Health authorities said they would begin to consider readjusting social distancing rules that currently limit business hours till 11 p.m. and private gatherings of up to six people, as those measures are due to end this week.
Of the locally transmitted cases reported Tuesday, 66,067 cases came from Seoul and 102,983 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province. The western port city of Incheon reported 20,444 cases. Fifty-five cases came from overseas, raising the total to 30,358.
As of Tuesday, 32.15 million people out of the 52 million population, or 62.7 percent, had received booster shots. Fully vaccinated people came to 44.43 million, representing 86.6 percent, the KDCA said. (Yonhap)
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