In South Korea, for the second day in a row, a record number of new coronavirus infections broke the 13,000 barrier for the first time, as the most contagious Omicron variant is now prevalent in the Southeast Asian state, 53 days after its first case was detected.
The Korea Office of Disease Control and Prevention (KCDA) announced that 13,012 cases of SARS-CoV-2 were confirmed in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday and 32 patients died due to complications of COVID-19.
The pandemic in South Korea has reached 6,620 deaths out of a total of 762,983 infections, according to the KCDA. The mortality rate fell to 0.87%.
The number of virus infections is for the second consecutive day the highest since January 20, 2020, when the pandemic broke out in South Korea, and dramatically increased from the previous record (8,571).
The number of patients admitted to hospitals in critical condition decreased to 385 (-7 in 24 hours).
85.5% of the population (43.87 million out of a population of 52 million) has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 50.3% (25.78 million) have received a booster dose, according to KCDA data.
Nevertheless, health officials warn that the number of infections could reach five in the coming days, exceeding 30,000 a day, if the current rate of Omicron spread continues.
Authorities are concerned as the new lunar year will be celebrated in the coming days; they are urging citizens to limit their travel. They are also reviewing pandemic response policies.
“From now on, our top priority will be to reduce the number of critically ill patients and the number of deaths,” said Prime Minister Kim Jong-un during a cabinet meeting today.
The quarantine period for infected vaccinated people is reduced to seven days out of ten.
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