SEOUL– South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases stayed above 100,000 for the third straight day Thursday amid a fresh wave of infections driven by a highly infectious omicron variant.
The country added 107,894 new COVID-19 infections, including 435 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 20,160,154, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Thursday’s figure fell from the 119,922 the previous day, which was the highest since the 125,822 cases reported April 15.
The daily caseload was 1.22-times higher than the 88,374 reported a week ago and 1.52-times more than the 71,142 cases from two weeks ago on the spread of the now-dominant omicron variant BA.5.
Health authorities warned people to take precautions as the number of seriously ill patients rose to 310, the highest figure since May 18, when the tally stood at 313.
The KDCA reported 34 deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 25,144. The fatality rate was 0.13 percent.
Among the 172 deaths reported from July 24-30, 167, or 97.1 percent, are aged over 50. Of the 167 people, 61, or 36.5 percent, were either unvaccinated or had received only one shot, the KDCA said.
The KDCA has asked older adults to get their second boosters. But only about 45 percent of people, aged over 60 and subject to a fourth vaccine shot, have received it.
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.
Of the 6,089 locally transmitted cases, Seoul accounted for 20,225 cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province reporting 27,799 cases. There were 5,440 infections in Incheon, around 30 kilometers west of Seoul. The three areas accounted for 49.8 percent of the total infection cases.
As of 9 p.m. Thursday, local governments had reported 108,390 additional cases, up 3,900 from the same time Wednesday and 1.3 times the number from a week before.
Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.
Source: Yonhap News Agency