New COVID-19 infections in South Korea top 100,000 for 3rd day of Omicron spread

People line up for a COVID-19 test at a testing site set up near Seoul Station in central Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network)

SEOUL — South Korea’s daily coronavirus cases topped 100,000 for the third straight day on Sunday due to the spread of the highly transmissible variant of omicron.

The country reported 104,829 new COVID-19 infections, including 104,732 local cases, bringing the total number of cases to 1,962,837 according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The death toll from COVID-19 stood at 7,405, up 51 from the previous day. The death rate was 0.38%, the KDCA said.

The number of critically ill COVID-19 patients increased by 31 to 439.

Among locally transmitted cases, Seoul recorded 22,100 new cases while surrounding Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon added 31,326 and 9,188 cases respectively. Overseas cases rose by 97 to 28,100.

South Korea has seen the number of cases surge in recent weeks as the Omicron variant raged across the country, with daily numbers nearly doubling in just one week after first surpassing 50,000 on February 10.

The daily caseload topped 100,000 for the first time on Friday.

Despite the virus outbreak, the government decided on Friday to ease working hours curfews for cafes and restaurants from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m., for the next three weeks, a move not well received by some experts amid concerns about a further rise in the virus.

The decision came amid a strong backlash from small retailers and freelancers who complained that prolonged anti-virus measures are hurting sales.

The partially relaxed virus restrictions will be in place until March 13, with the cap on private gatherings unchanged at six people, the health agency said.

As of Sunday, 30.46 million people, or 59.4% of the country’s 52 million people, had received reminders. The number of people fully vaccinated stood at 44.30 million, or 86.3 percent, he said. (Yonhap)


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