S. Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases surpass 90,000

With the cases rising by more than 30,000 in a day, the government issued an apology for failing to control a spiraling omicron variant outbreak.

Shim Woo-hyun

Shim Woo-hyun

The Korea Herald


A screen shows South Korea's daily COVID-19 infections by regions. (Yonhap)

February 16, 2022

SEOUL – South Korea’s daily COVID-19 infections jumped to an all-time high of 90,443 as the omicron wave intensifies, but the number of critical cases are rising at a slower pace, the government said Wednesday.

With the cases rising by more than 30,000 in a day, the government issued an apology for failing to control a spiraling omicron variant outbreak. The government added that it will soon decide whether it will ease current social distancing curbs or not.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the country reported 90,443 new COVID-19 cases, which raised the total caseload to 1,552,851. The figure reported on Wednesday was up by 33,266 from the previous day’s 57,177.

The majority of infections were from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital area. Daily cases from the three regions reached 52,605, accounting for 58.3 percent of the total daily caseload.

Amid growing concerns over the increasing number of daily cases, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum offered a public apology over a sudden spike in the omicron infections.

Kim, however, noted that the country’s medical response system is not overloaded yet as the government secured hospital beds in advance and expanded at-home treatment. Kim added the number of critically ill patients in the country is staying at a manageable level so far.

According to the KDCA, the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients was 313, down one from the previous day, although the daily tally stayed over 300 for three days in a row.

The number of COVID-19 related deaths reported during the 24 hours of Tuesday also went down to 39, from the previous day’s 61. The death toll from COVID-19 reached 7,202, and the fatality rate was 0.46 percent, the KDCA said.

The recent surge in the number of daily COVID-19 cases has clouded the possibility for adjusting current social distancing rules,

According to Kim, the government will announce its plan on Friday, whether it will ease social distancing curbs or maintain them.

“The government will decide after considering both financial damages that people have suffered from the strict social distancing rules over the past two months, as well as the spread of omicron variant, which we don’t know when its peak will arrive,” Kim said.

The country’s current social distancing rules include a 9 p.m. dining curfew and a six-person cap on private gatherings.

The government has been reportedly considering extending the curfew to 10 p.m. and the cap on private gatherings to eight.

Meanwhile, the government plans to supply COVID-19 test kits to nursery schools, kindergartens, elementary schools and aged care facilities. The government will expand its supply in March, it added.


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