World, Asia - Pacific

South Korea reports 2nd highest single-day COVID-19 cases

522 more critically ill patients registered as country battles pandemic's 4th wave

Islamuddin Sajid   | 17.11.2021
South Korea reports 2nd highest single-day COVID-19 cases

ANKARA

South Korea on Wednesday reported over 3,000 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest single-day spike since the pandemic outbreak in the country last year, local media said.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, during the past 24 hours, the country recorded 3,187 new cases, a sharp hike from 2,125 a day earlier, bringing the total caseload to 402,775, as the country battles the pandemic's fourth wave.

The country also reported 522 cases of critically ill people, breaking the previous record of 495 cases on Tuesday.

Since July 7, new infections have been rising in South Korea following the emergence of the Delta variant. On Sept. 25, the country reported 3,270 cases, the highest single-day case count since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year.

With 21 more deaths, the country’s total fatalities reached 3,158, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The capital Seoul, one of the major hotspots of COVID-19 in the country, reported 1,432 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number in a single day, putting pressure on the already over-burdened hospitals as the bed occupancy rate in intensive care units for COVID-19 patients crossed 80%.

Cases spiked after the government eased the COVID-19 restrictions across the country under the "living with COVID-19" scheme on Nov. 1 to return to normal life, according to the report.

Under the new scheme, the government allowed people to gather in groups of up to 10 in the capital Seoul and its surrounding areas, while the limit was raised to 12 in other parts of the country, regardless of vaccination.

Limits on working hours for businesses were also lifted, though people will continue to wear masks indoors.

Attending bars, nightclubs, and indoor gyms requires vaccination and visitors must show their vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 test results when visiting high-risk facilities.

South Korea is planning to remove all restrictions by the end of February next year.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Wednesday announced shortening the six-month interval period for booster dose to four months for people aged 60 and older. The move is aimed to protect senior citizens as currently the majority of the critically ill people are over 60 years old, according to the agency report.

Kim added that the inoculation interval for people aged 50 should also be cut from six to five months.

So far, 42.06 million people, or 81.9% of the country's 52 million population, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while over 40.24 million, or 78.4% people, have been fully vaccinated, according to the agency.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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