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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall below 140,000; death toll hits 3-month high

All News 09:41 August 19, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 140,000 Friday, but daily deaths reached a three-month high amid the continued virus wave driven by a highly contagious omicron subvariant.

The country added 138,812 new COVID-19 infections, including 465 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 22,000,037, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

It marked a decline from the previous day's 178,574 new cases but was still about 10 percent larger than a week earlier when 128,675 infections were reported.

The country reported 83 COVID-19 deaths Friday, the highest level since May 7 when the same number of virus deaths was reported.

The total death toll came to 25,896, and the fatality rate stood at 0.12 percent, the KDCA said.

The number of critically ill patients came to 492, up from 472 a day earlier, it added.

South Korea has seen another virus wave since July, driven by the omicron subvariant BA.5 and the government's lifting of virus curbs.

The KDCA has said that new infections are expected to peak at around 200,000 this month before shrinking at a slower pace, vowing to devise a medical response system that can handle about 300,000 daily infections.

"The virus spread has been unabated amid the growth in travel in summer," Second Vice Health Minister Lee Ki-il said. "We will not be swayed by the changing daily virus trend. We will be fully prepared to prevent deaths and serious cases."

People line up to undergo COVID-19 virus tests at a makeshift testing station in Seoul on Aug.18, 2022. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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