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South Korea reports highest daily COVID cases

Country also reports 5 cases of new omicron variant

South Korea reports highest daily COVID cases


South Korea reported on Thursday more than 5,200 new COVID-19 cases -- the highest single-day infections since January 2020.

According to the Health Ministry data, the country registered 5,266 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from 5,123 on Wednesday.

With the new cases, the nationwide tally has reached 457,612.

The country also reported 47 more fatalities, taking the death toll to 3,705.

Moreover, the number of critically ill patients is also rising with 733 people hospitalized in the past 24 days, up from 723 on Wednesday.

In the wake of rising cases and fatalities, President Moon Jae-in delayed his government's plan to ease restrictions from mid-December.

"The path toward a phased return to normalcy is not smooth, and risks over the new omicron variant are growing," Yonhap News quoted Moon as saying.

South Korea also confirmed its first five cases of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus late on Wednesday.

According to health authorities, a couple who visited Nigeria last month and three other people have tested positive for the omicron variant in genetic sequencing tests.

South Korea has already banned flights and visa issuance for eight African countries, including South Africa, to stem the spread of the omicron variant.

So far, 42.59 million people, or 82.9% of the country's 52 million population, have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 41.13 million or 80.1% have been fully vaccinated in the country.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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