South Korea's daily virus jump exceeds 7,000 for 1st time

  • In Health
  • 2021-12-08 02:01:57Z
  • By Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - New coronavirus infections in South Korea exceeded 7,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic on Wednesday as hours-long lines snaked around testing stations in the capital Seoul amid a worsening virus crisis.

More than 5,600 of the new 7,175 cases were reported in Seoul and the nearby metropolitan region, where a delta-driven surge has led to a shortage of hospital beds and strained an already depleted health care workforce.

The country's death toll exceeded 4,000 after 63 virus patients died in the past 24 hours. The 840 patients in serious or critical conditions were an all-time high, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

"Last week, the level of daily increase reached 5,000 and today the tally came out over 7,000 - the viral spread has been fierce," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, Seoul's No. 2 behind President Moon Jae-in, said during a virus meeting.

"The greater capital region is where 80% of the infections have been concentrated. While we have been working with hospitals to increase the number of hospital beds (designated for COVID-19 treatment), we have been unable to catch up with the speed of transmissions," he said.

Officials have been scrambling to administer booster shots and they are monitoring a larger number of mild cases at home to preserve hospital beds for patients who are sicker.

Wednesday's daily infection tally was 1,800 more than the previous one-day record of 5,352 set on Saturday, illustrating how the delta variant has ripped through the country after it loosened social distancing rules in November to address economic concerns.

In allowing larger social gatherings and longer indoor dining hours at restaurants, officials had hoped that the country's improving vaccination rates would help suppress hospitalizations and deaths even if the virus continues to spread.

But there has been a surge in serious cases and fatalities among people in their 60s and older, including those whose immunities have waned after getting inoculated soon after the vaccine rollout began in February.

Following weeks of criticism by health experts, officials enforced tighter virus restrictions starting Monday, banning private social gatherings of seven or more people in the greater Seoul area and requiring adults to verify their vaccination status at restaurants, movie theaters, museums and other indoor venues.

South Korea has also tightened its borders to fend off the new omicron coronavirus variant since identifying its first cases last week that were linked to arrivals from Nigeria. The KDCA said health workers confirmed two new omicron cases on Wednesday, bringing the tally to 38.

While the emergence of omicron has triggered global alarm and pushed governments around the world to tighten their borders, scientists say it remains unclear whether the new variant is more contagious, more likely to evade the protection provided by vaccines or more likely to cause serious illnesses than previous versions of the virus.

South Korea is currently requiring all passengers arriving from abroad to quarantine for at least 10 days, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status. The country has banned short-term foreign travelers arriving from nine African nations, including South Africa and Nigeria.


More Related News

Czech Republic sees biggest daily jump in COVID cases since Dec 1
Czech Republic sees biggest daily jump in COVID cases since Dec 1
  • US
  • 2022-01-18 06:36:21Z

The Czech Republic reported on Tuesday more than 20,000 new cases of COVID-19, the biggest single-day rise since Dec. 1, the Health Ministry said. On Monday...

Hong Kong fund to sell Japan, South Korea Burger King business in deal over $1bln - source
Hong Kong fund to sell Japan, South Korea Burger King business in deal over $1bln - source

Private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners is this week launching the sale of its Burger King fast-food businesses in South Korea and Japan, in a deal that...

North Korea tests
North Korea tests 'tactical guided missiles' in military push
  • World
  • 2022-01-18 04:11:14Z

North Korea said Tuesday it had launched two tactical guided missiles, its fourth sanctions-busting test of the year as it seeks to bolster its conventional ...

North Korea: Tactical guided missiles fired in latest test
North Korea: Tactical guided missiles fired in latest test
  • World
  • 2022-01-18 01:51:49Z

North Korea said Tuesday it had conducted a test-firing of "tactical guided missiles," a day after South Korea's military detected the North launching two...

French COVID hospitalisations see biggest jump since Nov 2020
French COVID hospitalisations see biggest jump since Nov 2020
  • US
  • 2022-01-17 17:32:56Z

PARIS (Reuters) -The number of people with COVID-19 in French hospitals rose by 888 to 25,775, the health ministry said on Monday, the biggest one-day...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Health