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(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases below 100,000 for 1st time in 7 days

National 11:33 August 15, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 5-8; ADDS photos)

SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 100,000 for the first time in seven days Monday due to fewer tests over the weekend amid the spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant.

The country reported 62,078 new COVID-19 infections, including 396 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 21,418,036, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The daily tally stayed above 100,000 for the past six days, with new cases reaching a four-month high of 151,748 on Wednesday.

South Korea reported 50 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 25,673, the KDCA said. The fatality rate stood at 0.12 percent.

The number of critically ill patients came to 521, up nine from a day earlier. It jumped more than eight times from 65 reported on July 15.

People wait to take COVID-19 tests at a makeshift testing center near Seoul Station in central Seoul on Aug. 14, 2022. (Yonhap)

The daily caseload had been on a downward trend after peaking at around 620,000 in mid-March. But new infections began to spike due mainly to eased virus curbs and the spread of the highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.5.

Imported COVID-19 cases had stayed above 400 in August through Sunday after the government relaxed entry restrictions for overseas travelers and resumed international flights. New cases from overseas hit a record high of 615 on Wednesday.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 8,239 new cases, and Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital added 16,058 new infections. Incheon, a port city just west of Seoul, identified 2,885 more cases.

This photo taken on Aug. 14, 2022, shows disinfectants in a complex gymnasium in Sadang, southern Seoul, amid the spread of an omicron subvariant. (Yonhap)


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