South Korea tops 5,000 daily Covid cases for first time

Seoul, Dec 1 (EFE).- South Korea topped 5,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours for the first time Wednesday, marking a new record of both daily infections and critically ill patients, amid concerns over the new Omicron variant.

The country registered 5,123 new cases between midnight Monday and Tuesday, well above the previous record of 4,115 a week ago, according to data released Wednesday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

On Tuesday, 34 deaths were also registered and the record of critically ill patients was surpassed with 723, 84.4 percent of whom are over 60 years old.

The main groups affected are those over 60 and those under 18, the vast majority of whom have not yet been vaccinated.

In the case of the elderly, it is believed that this new wave of infections responds to diminishing protection of vaccines they received at the beginning of the year.

South Korea, where 79.9 percent of the population are fully vaccinated, is also trying to confirm its first suspected case of the new Omicron variant.

In view of the new figures, Interior Minister Jeon Hae-cheol, said Wednesday during an inter-ministerial meeting that new measures are being considered to stop the spread, Yonhap news agency reported.

On Monday, President Moon Jae-in announced that the country would halt further easing of social restrictions scheduled for December, just three weeks after activating a first relaxation.

It is now feared that restrictions in place between July and October will be reimposed, especially in the capital region, where more than half the country live and 80.2 percent of the new infections are concentrated.

This week, South Korea accelerated the distribution of booster doses, which Moon said should complete the vaccination schedule, rather than be considered an additional dose.

At the moment about 3.2 million South Koreans (6.1 percent of the population) have already received a third dose. EFE


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