S.Korea daily COVID-19 cases top 3,000 for first time after holiday

Commuters wearing masks to avoid contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk on a zebra crossing in Seoul, South Korea, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases topped 3,000 for the first time on Saturday as an outbreak fuelled by three-day holiday this week continued to grow.

The country reported 3,273 COVID-19 cases for Friday, a day after hitting the previous high (here), the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Saturday.

Of the new cases, 3,245 were locally transmitted and 28 were imported, bringing South Korea’s total to 298,402 infections with 2,441 deaths.

More than 77% of the domestically transmitted cases were in Seoul and areas neighbouring the capital, where about half the nation’s 52 million people live.

The mortality rate and severe cases remain relatively low and steady at 0.82% and 339, respectively, helped by vaccinations that prioritised older people at high risk of severe COVID-19, KDCA said.

The number of coronavirus tests jumped more than 50% to 227,874 from a week earlier, according to the KDCA.

Authorities have advised people returning from this week’s three-day holiday to be tested even for the mildest COVID-19-type symptoms, especially before going back to work.

The daily caseloads may continue to surge and peak by next week as more people get tested after the break, Lee Ki-il, deputy minister of health care policy, told a briefing on Friday.

South Korea has given 73.5% of its 52 million population at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine through Thursday, and has fully inoculated nearly 45%.

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