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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit nearly 100,000

Medical workers get ready to work on Monday, at a COVID-19 testing booth in Seoul that reopened amid the virus resurgence. (Yonhap)
Medical workers get ready to work on Monday, at a COVID-19 testing booth in Seoul that reopened amid the virus resurgence. (Yonhap)

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases bounced back to nearly 100,000 on Tuesday as an omicron subvariant has spread fast amid a new wave of the virus resurgence.

The country reported 99,327 new COVID-19 infections, including 353 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 19,346,764, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Tuesday's count is more than double the previous day's 35,883 and the largest number since 111,291 reported on April 20.

South Korea has seen a spike in daily cases as the rapid spread of the omicron subvariant BA.5 is taking hold. The infection numbers rebounded to the five digits since early this month after mostly hovering in the four digits in June.

The country suffered the worst omicron outbreak earlier this year, which sent the daily cases to the peak of over 620,000 in mid-March.

On a weekly basis, the COVID-19 caseload soared 84.7 percent last week from a week earlier, with the daily average at around 60,000.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, the country had reported 97,617 additional cases, up 3,404 from the same time Monday and 1.3 times the number from a week ago. It was the largest 9 p.m. tally in 98 days.

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

Defining the current virus trend as "the first virus resurgence without uniform restrictions, such as private gathering limits and business curfews," KDCA Commissioner Peck Kyong-ran called on the public to take the initiative in complying with social distancing and other antivirus measures.

"What's important is that we continue our efforts to restore everyday life and overcome the resurgence crisis at the same time," Peck said in a regular briefing.

Health authorities predicted that the latest virus uptrend will continue for the next two to three weeks.

On Tuesday, South Korea added 17 deaths from COVID-19, with the death toll at 24,907. The number of critically ill patients came to 168, up by 24 from the previous day.

More than 44.64 million people, or 87 percent of the population, had completed two-dose COVID-19 vaccinations as of Monday, the KDCA said. Of them, 33.44 million, or 65.2 percent, had received one booster shot, and 5.27 million people, representing 10.3 percent, had gotten their second ones. (Yonhap)

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