New daily COVID-19 cases soar to record high in Seoul

SEOUL-- Seoul reported Wednesday an all-time daily high of nearly 700 COVID-19 patients.

According to the Central Disease Control Headquarters, the capital logged 677 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, its highest-ever daily increase, as South Korea was struggling to fight the nation's fourth wave of the pandemic. Only four of the city's total were from overseas.

The latest daily tally broke Seoul's previous daily record of 660 set on Aug. 10. It also marked an increase of 239 from 438 on the previous day and an increase of 167 from 510 a week earlier.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases in Seoul has stayed above 500 since Aug. 10, excluding six days linked to weekends and holidays.

Health officials fear Seoul's COVID-19 cases will continue to rise steadily as the number of tests has again increased Monday, beginning this week.

The city's total caseload has now risen to 76,245 and 9,277 of them are currently in quarantine for treatment. The total number of COVID-19 deaths also increased by one to 575.

Nationwide, the number of new daily coronavirus cases spiked to 2,155 on Wednesday, the second highest figure on record.

The health officials said the delta coronavirus variant originally discovered in India has become the dominant COVID-19 strain in Seoul, like elsewhere in the country.

Park Yoo-mi, a disease control official at the city government, said that the share of the delta variant in the capital's new COVID-19 patients infected with variant viruses has recently risen to 93 percent.

Of the city's 4,614 cumulative cases of coronavirus variants, the delta variant accounted for 4,153, or 90 percent, she noted, adding the rapid spread of the delta variant may be behind the record-high daily infections.

Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area have been put under the toughest Level 4 social distancing rules for the past seven weeks.

While expressing a negative stance on a possible easing of the social distancing restrictions, Park said the municipal government will be focused on lifting citizens' vaccination rate.

As of Wednesday, slightly over half of Seoul citizens, 51.5 percent, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines. The ratio of fully vaccinated Seoul citizens reached 25.6 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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