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Variant cases top 10,000; delta spreading fast amid 4th wave of pandemic

All News 14:49 August 10, 2021

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has confirmed 2,641 more cases of four major contagious variants of the new coronavirus over the past week, including 2,555 cases of the highly transmissible delta variant, health authorities said Tuesday.

The caseload of such infections reached 10,766 here, with the number of delta cases, first reported in India, tallied at 7,467, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The tally indicates that the delta variant is becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 here, making it more difficult for health authorities to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The delta variant is behind a recent spike in the COVID-19 infections in Seoul and its neighboring areas, while showing signs of spreading much faster in the rest of the country.

South Korean residents and diplomats from India are guided by quarantine officials upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on July 13, 2021, amid the fourth wave of COVID-19. (Yonhap)

Health authorities said the country will witness more cases of the variants down the road.

The rate of variant cases detected through gene analysis came to 75.6 percent over the past week, up from 67.6 percent reported a week earlier, the KDCA said.

The corresponding figure for the delta variant was 73.1 percent, sharply up from 61.5 percent a week earlier, according to the health authorities.

The steady rise in variant cases poses a threat to the country's virus battle currently dogged by a spike in new cases and the slowdown of its inoculation campaign.

The KDCA said it will increase the number of gene analysis tests to prescreen the outbreak of variants.

On Tuesday, the country reported 1,540 new COVID-19 cases, bouncing back to above 1,500, the KDCA said. The total caseload was increased to 213,987.

Slightly over 20 million people have been inoculated as of Tuesday since the country started its nationwide vaccination program in late February.

To block the inflow of the new emerging strain from India, entrants from the country are mandatorily quarantined at state facilities for seven days before being put under self-quarantine, depending on the results of virus tests.

khj@yna.co.kr
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