SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases sharply bounced back to the 1,700s Wednesday as the highly transmissible delta variant weighs on the country's virus fight during the summer vacation season.
The country added 1,725 COVID-19 cases, including 1,664 local infections, raising the total caseload to 203,926, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The latest tally marked a sharp rise from 1,200 cases Tuesday and 1,218 cases Monday.
Daily cases usually fall over the weekend and rise later in the week as more people get tested.
The daily caseload has remained above 1,000 since July 7 due to outbreaks centered in the greater Seoul area. It reached a peak of 1,895 on July 28.
Two additional COVID-19 deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 2,106. The fatality rate came to 1.03 percent.
The current wave of the pandemic has yet to come under control, as the growing number of travelers in the summer season and the more infectious delta variant put the country's virus battle on edge.
South Korea has reported 2,109 more cases of four major contagious variants over the past week, including 1,928 cases of the delta variant.
Health authorities also confirmed Tuesday the country's first two cases of the delta plus variant, considered a sublineage of the delta variant.
To slow down the spread of the virus, South Korea has implemented the highest level of antivirus curbs in the Seoul metropolitan area, which is set to run through Sunday.
The measure includes a ban on the gathering of more than two people after 6 p.m., the toughest measure ever imposed by authorities since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic here.
Areas outside the greater capital region are under Level 3, which allows gatherings of up to four people in the evening, but some regional governments have adopted Level 4 distancing measures.
Authorities have been warning they could impose further enhanced measures should the number of daily cases continue to rise throughout this week.
Since the country kicked off its vaccination program in late February, a total of 20.17 million people, or 39.3 percent of the country's 51.3 million population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines.
Around 14.2 percent, or 7.29 million people, have been fully vaccinated, according to the KDCA data.
While the country has so far focused on offering vaccines to seniors and other priority groups, including medical workers and military officials, vaccines are scheduled to reach the younger population later this month.
Around 18 million people aged 18-49 will receive their first jabs of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna from Aug. 26 to Sept. 30, under the government's inoculation blueprint.
The country aims to administer a single vaccination shot to 36 million people, or 70 percent of its population, by September with hopes of reaching herd immunity in November.
Of the newly confirmed domestic cases, 479 were from Seoul, 474 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 83 from the western port city of Incheon.
Imported cases, which also include South Korean nationals from overseas, came to 61.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 179,123, up 1,214 from a day earlier.
The number of patients in critical condition came to 329, down two from the previous day.
(LEAD) BTS praises youth for welcoming challenges of COVID-19 pandemic
BTS returns home after visit to U.N., New York
BTS praises youth for welcoming challenges of COVID-19 pandemic
BTS, Coldplay drop collab single 'My Universe'
Moon says BTS helped spread awareness of climate change, other global issues
(LEAD) Moon proposes formal end to Korean War for irreversible progress in denuclearization efforts
Yoon says he will request redeployment of U.S. tactical nukes in case of emergency
(LEAD) N. Korea rejects Moon's proposal of end-of-war declaration as 'premature'
(LEAD) USFK makes public Teak Knife surgical strike drill amid N.K. military moves
Unification minister says end-of-war declaration useful means to kick-start nuclear talks
S. Korea's daily virus cases exceed 3,000 for first time
(LEAD) S. Korea's daily virus cases exceed 3,000 for first time
(3rd LD) S. Korea's daily virus cases exceed 3,000 for first time
N. Korean leader highlights strong ties with China against 'hostile forces'
(2nd LD) S. Korea's daily virus cases exceed 3,000 for first time