SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases on Sunday increased more than 11,000 compared with a week earlier, with the country set to start administering booster shots targeting omicron subvariants amid growing concerns about the possibility of a wintertime resurgence.
The country reported 48,465 new COVID-19 infections, including 53 from overseas, bringing the total to 26,194,229, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It marked a sharp hike from 36,675 recorded a week earlier.
On Wednesday, South Korea’s daily new virus reached the highest level in nearly two months at 62,472, as the country is bracing for another wave of the infection in winter.
South Korea plans to begin administering a booster dose of the BA.4 and BA.5 bivalent vaccine by Pfizer on Monday to people aged 18 and older who were vaccinated before July.
The move came as the BA.5 variant of COVID-19 has become the dominant strain in South Korea, taking up around 91 percent of total infections in the first week of November.
Experts say the latest booster doses are 2.6 times more effective against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants than existing vaccines.
Local health authorities have been warning that daily cases could reach up to 200,000 as early as December.
Authorities are also vigilant over the possible spread of COVID-19 during the annual national college entrance exam slated for this week. Around 508,000 examinees are set to take the test at 1,370 centers across the country Thursday.
South Korea reported 48 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 29,665. The fatality rate was 0.11 percent.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 396, up 25 from a day earlier, the KDCA said.
South Korea’s military, meanwhile, reported 3,111 additional COVID-19 cases over the past week, raising the total caseload among its service members to 292,253, the defense ministry said.
Currently, 2,756 military personnel are under treatment, it said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency