South Korea sets pandemic high with 4,000 new virus cases

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New coronavirus infections in South Korea surpassed 4,000 in a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic as the delta-driven spread continues in the country, as it eased social distancing measures to improve its economy in recent weeks Is.

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The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said most of the new 4,116 cases reported on Wednesday came from the capital Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan area, where a surge in hospitalizations has raised fears about a potential shortage in intensive care units.

After the death of 35 virus patients in the last 24 hours, the death toll in the country has now risen to 3,363. 586 patients who are in critical or critical condition have also marked a new high.


South Korea is the latest country to report infections and hospitalizations after easing social distancing measures amid high vaccination rates. Cases are also rising in the United States ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, while Austria on Monday entered a major lockdown as a wave of the virus spread across Europe

Officials in South Korea eased social distancing rules starting this month and fully reopened schools on Monday in what they see as a first step towards restoring some pre-pandemic normalcy. In allowing large social gatherings in restaurants and longer indoor dining hours, officials had hoped that improving vaccination rates would reduce hospitalizations and deaths, even as the virus continued to spread.

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But health workers are now wrestling with a rise in severe cases and mortality among older people who have declined vaccines or whose immunity has waned after being injected early in a vaccine rollout that began in February.

“The increase in serious cases is much higher than we expected,” health ministry official Son Youngre told a briefing. Son said officials are monitoring the situation closely and may announce steps to reimpose strong social distancing measures in the coming weeks if the spread continues.

Most of the virus patients who died in recent weeks were 60 years of age or older, and most of them were not fully vaccinated or vaccinated, according to KDCA data. Son said there has also been an increase in breakthrough infections among older people receiving the two shots, indicating how the delta variant is reducing the vaccines’ effectiveness.

Officials are now scrambling to expedite the administration of booster shots and plan to share hospital capabilities between the greater Seoul area and other areas with smaller outbreaks to prevent overburdening hospital systems. are.

Son said the government has issued administrative orders to hospitals in the capital region to earmark hundreds more beds for virus patients. He said that currently more than 83% of the designated area for COVID-19 treatment is occupied by ICUs.


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