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(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases above 100,000 for 6th day

All News 09:58 August 07, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more info from para 6, photo)
By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases exceeded 100,000 for the sixth straight day on Sunday as infections stayed high amid the spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant and increased movement encouraged by eased social curbs and summer vacation.

The country added 105,507 new COVID-19 infections, including 484 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 20,489,128, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

This marked the sixth straight day that daily cases hovered above 100,000 since the number jumped to 111,758 on Tuesday from the previous day's 44,654.

The latest infections were, however, slightly down from 110,666 reported Saturday.

The number of deaths caused by COVID-19 was 27, down from the previous day's 45. It raised the total death toll to 25,263, with the fatality rate standing at 0.12 percent. The number of seriously ill patients came to 297, down 16 from the previous day, the KDCA said.

Daily cases have remained high recently, mostly driven by the fast spread of the highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.5, which has become a dominant coronavirus mutant.

Also behind the recent wave of infections was increased traveling during summer vacation season amid eased social distancing rules.

The country has been on high alert against BA.2.75, a new fast-spreading omicron subvariant, though its confirmed cases stood at 16 since the first case was reported on July 14. Most of the cases came from overseas.

Health authorities worry that daily cases are expected to peak at 110,000-190,000 and the recent wave of infections could continue for the time being, as the immunity of vaccinated people would weaken and the possibility of new variants emerging is lingering amid increasing social contact.

In April, the government removed almost all social distancing rules to support the people's return to normalcy, including private gathering limits and business hour curfews.

Of the 105,023 locally transmitted cases announced Sunday, Seoul reported 18,342 cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province logging 26,242 cases and the western port city of Incheon with 5,545 infections.

South Korea, with a population of 51.6 million, reached the grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus infections Wednesday, 2 1/2 years after its first COVID-19 case was reported Jan. 20, 2020.

People wait to take coronavirus tests at a screening clinic in Seoul's Mapo Ward on Aug. 4, 2022. South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed above 100,000 for the third straight day amid a fresh wave of infections driven by a highly infectious omicron variant. (Yonhap)


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