S. Korea’s daily infections jump to over 260,000

SEOUL-- South Korea's new coronavirus cases jumped to over 260,000 on Tuesday as the spread of the omicron variant slowed down after peaking out last month.

The country reported 266,135 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total caseload to 14,267,401, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Tuesday's tally marked a sharp climb from 127,190 reported Monday. The number of new daily cases usually shrinks at the beginning of the week due to less testing over the weekend.

The number, however, is down from 347,554 reported a week earlier, it said.

The death toll from COVID-19 came to 17,662, up 209 from Monday, the KDCA said. The total fatality rate came to 0.12 percent.

The number of critically ill patients stood at 1,121, up 13 from the previous day. The daily tally stayed in the 1,100-1,200 range for four days in a row.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, 281,262 new cases had been confirmed nationwide, up 21,626 from the same time the previous day, according to health authorities and local governments.

Daily COVID-19 cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

Concerns linger that daily infections could bounce back again, as the government eased the social distancing regulations Monday for two weeks in a move to reduce the plight of small merchants and business owners hit hard by the pandemic.

The private gathering limit has been eased to 10 people from eight, and the business hour curfew on restaurants and cafes has been extended by one hour to midnight.

The hospital bed occupancy rate for seriously ill COVID-19 patients came to 65.6 percent. The rate remains manageable within the country's medical response capacity, according to the KDCA.

The number of people receiving at-home treatment stood at 1,379,196, down 147,804 from the previous day.

Of the domestic cases, Seoul reported 51,500 new infections, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province logging 69,362. The western port city of Incheon reported 15,354.

A total of 27 cases came from overseas, the KDCA said.

As of midnight, 32.83 million people out of the total population, or 64 percent, had received booster shots. Fully vaccinated people came to 44.5 million, representing 86.7 percent, the KDCA said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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