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(2nd LD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall; deaths rise to 3-month high

All News 17:09 August 11, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 4-6)

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in South Korea fell Thursday after reaching a four-month record high the previous day, but new deaths climbed to a three-month high amid the fast spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant.

The country added 137,241 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total caseload to 20,983,169, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. Of the new cases, 522 were from overseas.

Thursday's tally fell from 151,792 the previous day but surged when compared with 107,859 a week earlier.

The number of seriously ill patients also increased to 418, up from 402 on Wednesday. The tally was also the largest in three months.

The KDCA reported 59 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest since May 12, raising the death toll to 25,441. The fatality rate was 0.12 percent.

Health authorities said about 90 percent of the new COVID-19 deaths came from highly vulnerable people, including people aged 60 and older and those with underlying health conditions.

People wait for tests at a COVID-19 testing center in Seoul on Aug. 11, 2022. (Yonhap)

Daily virus cases were on the decline after peaking at around 620,000 in mid-March. But infections have spiked again in recent weeks as the April lifting of almost all COVID-19 restrictions has increased people's movements and outdoor activities.

The KDCA said it took an average of some 154-165 days for a COVID-19 patient to be reinfected in July, shorter than an average of 229 days tallied for reinfected patients in June.

It said people aged 17 and under and unvaccinated people accounted for half of the total reinfection cases.

Imported cases have continued to rise in recent weeks, with such infections hitting a record high of 615 Wednesday. Imported cases stayed over the 400s this month.

As of Thursday, 44.66 million, or 87 percent of the country's population, had received full two-dose vaccinations, and 33.5 million, or 65.3 percent, had received their first booster shots.

About 6.4 million people, or 12.5 percent of the population, had gotten their second booster shots, the KDCA said.

Health authorities said daily virus cases are likely to peak at about 200,000 this month. But some experts forecast COVID-19 infections could exceed the mark in late August.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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