July 28, 2022
SEOUL – South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases passed the 100,000 mark for the first time since late April due to the spread of BA.5, a new, more contagious version of omicron, the government said Wednesday.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the country added 100,285 new COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours of Tuesday.
Kim Sung-ho, vice minister for disaster and safety management, said during a COVID-19 response meeting on Wednesday that the daily tally was the highest in 14 weeks since April 20, when the government reported 111,291 COVID-19 cases.
The daily COVID-19 infections were up 958 from the previous day’s 99,327. It was also 1.31 times higher than 76,379 cases a week ago and 2.49 times higher than 40,248 cases two weeks prior. Compared to four weeks ago, when the government reported 10,454 cases, the daily count was 9.59 times higher.
Kim added the weekly average number of daily infections last week increased 85 percent from the previous week.
The reproduction rate was slightly down last week but still above one, according to Kim. A rate above one means the virus will continue its spread, while a reading below one means the virus is receding.
The country’s COVID-19 wave is currently fueled by the new omicron strain BA. 5. Kim said the detection rate of the new omicron strain and reinfection rate are still on the rise.
Health authorities currently predict that the latest upward trend of COVID-19 will continue for the next two to three weeks.
The ongoing spread of BA. 5 is also leading to increases in the number of severe cases and deaths from the virus too.
The country added 25 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 24,932. The number of critically ill patients also went up by nine to 177 during the same day.
The increasing number of daily COVID-19 infections from overseas is another issue. The COVID-19 infections from overseas on Tuesday reached 532, an all-time high since the government started to collect related data.
The surge took place only a day after the government made international arrivals take a polymerase chain reaction test on the day of their entry to the country or by the second day of arrival, at the latest.
Despite the increasing number of daily COVID-19 infections, the country’s health authorities made clear that the country would not bring social distancing rules back. Instead, the government asked the public to keep existing antivirus measures, including the indoor mask mandate, and stay vigilant against COVID-19.
The government added it would increase the number of “one-stop” COVID-19 treatment centers to 10,000 by the end of this month and secure 4,000 additional hospital beds so that the country can handle COVID-19 patients even when the daily count surpasses 300,000 — to better manage patients in high-risk groups.