South Korea sees record omicron cases but relaxes some restrictions

Seoul, Feb 18 (EFE).- South Korea exceeded 100,000 daily Covid-19 cases Friday for the first time since the pandemic began, as authorities decided to slightly relax some restrictions despite the record number of infections caused by the omicron variant.

The country reported 109,831 positives according to data from the Korea Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Agency.

Daily infections have practically doubled in the last six days due to the omicron variant, although the number of seriously ill patients remains between 300 and 400 at the moment.

Authorities expect daily infections to be between 170,000 and 270,000 in the next month.

In turn, and given the discontent of the hospitality sector, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, also announced Friday that the mandatory closure of bars, cafes and restaurants in place since December would be relaxed, extending closure times by one hour, from 9 pm to 10 pm.

However, the rest of the limitations have remained intact, such as the one that affects the maximum number of people who can meet (currently six) or the obligation to undergo PCR tests and seven-day quarantines to enter the country from abroad.

The country, one of the countries that has best managed the direct impact of the pandemic (in total, it has registered only 1.7 million infections and 7,200 deaths), withdrew social restrictions – except mask wearing, which remains mandatory outdoors and indoors – in November.

However, it reactivated them a month later due to the onslaught of the delta variant and has decided to keep them practically intact with the arrival of omicron.

About 86.3 percent of South Koreans have received the complete vaccination schedule and 58.6 percent have received the booster dose. EFE


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