New Covid cases in South Korea hits 3-month high

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Seoul, Aug 2 (IANS): New Covid-19 cases in South Korea hit a three-month-high on Tuesday as the highly infectious Omicron variant has fuelled the resurgence.

In the last 24 hours, the country registered 111,789 new infections, including 568 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 19,932,439, Yonhap News Agency quoted the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) as saying.

Tuesday’s figure jumped from the previous day’s 44,689 and also increased from the 99,252 cases reported a week ago, driven by the fast spread of the Omicron sub-variant BA.5, which had become dominant among South Korean cases at 66.8 percent as of Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the country confirmed two more Covid-19 cases of BA.2.75, a new, fast-spreading Omicron sub-variant, taking the total such cases to nine.

The two people, both fully vaccinated and boosted once, returned to South Korea after visiting India last month. They suffered mild symptoms and are now fully recovered, the KDCA said.

Eased Covid-19 entry rules and a sharp rise in summer travellers led to record numbers of infection cases from overseas.

Imported cases, which have stayed in the triple digits since June 24, hit an all-time high of 568 on Tuesday.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant also caused a fresh wave of hospitalisations, with serious cases reaching the highest levels in nearly three months.

The number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients was 282 on Tuesday, down five cases from a day earlier when the figure rose to the highest after May 18, when the tally stood at 313.

The KDCA reported 16 fatalities from Covid-19, raising the death toll to 25,084.

Health authorities said the current wave could peak at around 200,000 infection cases a day, a level that is lower than previously expected and deemed manageable.

The government has said it was not considering reimposing stringent social distancing rules to fight the resurgent virus in a firm resolve to continue to move on from the pandemic and resume normal activities.

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