S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases continue on-week growth

SEOUL– South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases fell to below 60,000 but showed a marked on-week growth Thursday as the country is at the onset of another virus wave, health authorities said.

The country reported 55,365 new COVID-19 infections, including 50 from overseas, bringing the total to 26,037,020, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

It marked a slight fall from the previous day’s 62,472 cases, when the daily count hit about a two-month high.

But Thursday’s figure was around 20 percent larger than that a week earlier. The comparable figure for two weeks ago came to 34,975. It is also the highest tally for any Thursday in eight weeks.

The KDCA has said recently a new wave of infections appeared to have begun in earnest, and the daily infections could surge to around 200,000 as early as December.

The country added 52 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 29,531.

The number of critically ill patients stood at 323, down 13 from a day earlier, the KDCA said.

Starting Monday, the government will begin administering a booster dose of the BA.4 and BA.5-adopted bivalent vaccine by Pfizer to adults aged 18 and older.

Currently, two kinds of bivalent vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer shots against the BA.1 variant — are available, and the government expanded the bivalent booster shots campaign to all adults aged over 18 this week.

Earlier, the government announced its decision to bring in oral COVID-19 treatment pills ahead of schedule next month and beef up monitoring of vulnerable groups.

Indoor mask mandates and a seven-day mandatory quarantine for those infected with the virus will also remain in place.

But the government said it will not reinforce strict social distancing rules, as the country is capable of dealing with the cases within the current system.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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