S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases rise to nearly 4-month high

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases jumped to a nearly four-month high Tuesday amid a resurgence of infections driven by a highly infectious omicron subvariant.

The country added 149,897 new COVID-19 infections, the highest since April 13 when the tally hit 195,387, bringing the total caseload to 20,694,239, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. The tally includes 588 cases from overseas.

Tuesday's figure is up from 55,292 the previous day and 111,785 from a week earlier.

The number of cases tends to fall on Mondays, due to fewer tests, and rebound throughout the weekdays.

The number of seriously ill patients also rose to 364, up from 324 the previous day.

The KDCA reported 40 new deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 25,332. The fatality rate was 0.12 percent.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, the country had reported 146,364 additional cases, up 3,196 from the same time the previous day, according to health authorities and provincial governments. Daily virus cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

Daily COVID-19 cases have trended downward after peaking at around 620,000 in mid-March. But since authorities lifted almost all anti-pandemic curbs in April, infections have showed signs of spiking again, apparently due to increased movement and public gatherings.

Imported cases have been on the rise with their daily number standing in the 400-600 range this month, which is sharply higher than before the curbs were lifted.

Health authorities said the latest wave of infections could peak this week at the earliest.

As of Tuesday, 44.66 million, or 87 percent of the country's population, had received full two-dose vaccinations, and 33.49 million, or 65.3 percent, had received their first booster shots.

About 4.26 million people, or 12.2 percent of the population, had gotten their second booster shots, the KDCA said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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