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New cases under 1,700; number of critically-ill patients on rise

All News 09:33 August 29, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell below 1,700 Sunday due to fewer tests over the weekend, but the number of patients in critical condition stayed high, sparking concerns over more fatalities down the road.

The country added 1,619 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,576 local infections, raising the total caseload to 248,568, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Sunday's tally compares with 1,793 on Saturday and 1,841 on Friday. Daily cases have stayed above 1,000 for 54 consecutive days. The country added 2,155 patients on Wednesday.

The number of patients normally falls over the weekend and rises later in the week as more people get tested.

The country added three more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,279, the KDCA said.

A medical worker waits to carry out COVID-19 tests at a makeshift clinic in central Seoul on Aug. 28, 2021. (Yonhap)

A medical worker waits to carry out COVID-19 tests at a makeshift clinic in central Seoul on Aug. 28, 2021. (Yonhap)

The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 404, staying above 400 for a sixth consecutive day. Critical patients more than tripled from some 120 in early July, when the fourth wave began.

With no signs of clear letup, health authorities extended the toughest distancing measures in the greater Seoul area starting last week, ordering restaurants and bars to have only take-away customers after 9 p.m., which is an hour earlier than the previous guideline.

The greater Seoul area, home to half of the nation's 52 million population, has been under Level 4 restrictions, the highest of the four-tier virus curbs, for the past six weeks, while most other areas have implemented Level 3 distancing for the last four weeks.

The current social distancing measures are set to run through Sept. 5.

Authorities said they will come up with tailored measures to cope with the upcoming Chuseok holiday, which falls later in September this year, when millions normally travel across the nation to visit family.

The country currently expects the fourth wave of the pandemic to last at least through end of next month.

South Korea also plans to speed up its inoculation program with a goal of providing at least one jab to 70 percent of the population by September to create herd immunity in November.

As of Sunday, a total of 28 million people, or 55.7 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and only 14.6 million people, or 28.4 percent, have been fully vaccinated, the KDCA said.

Of the newly confirmed domestic cases, 508 were from Seoul, 469 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 91 from the western port city of Incheon, the authorities said.

Imported cases, which includes South Korean nationals, came to 43.

The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 218,726, up 1,737 from the previous day.


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