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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases soar to 4-month high of over 180,000

09:41 August 17, 2022

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases jumped to a four-month high on Wednesday following the extended weekend amid the continued spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant.

The country added 180,803 new COVID-19 infections, including 567 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 21,682,816, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

It is the highest figure since April 13, when the daily tally came to 195,387 amid the worst virus wave.

Wednesday's figure also more than doubled from the previous day's 84,128 cases. It is also about 20 percent larger than the 151,792 infections logged a week earlier.

"An increase in travelers in the summer vacation season and the recent extended Liberation Day holiday are expected to have an impact (on infection tallies) this week," Kim Sung-ho, the head of the interior ministry's disaster management office, said during a government COVID-19 response meeting.

New daily infections had hovered below the 100,000 level on Monday and Tuesday for the first time in a week due mainly to fewer tests over the extended weekend that included the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

On Wednesday, the country also reported 42 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 25,752, the KDCA said. The fatality rate stood at 0.12 percent.

The number of critically ill patients came to 469, down from the previous day's 563 cases, according to the KDCA.

South Korea has seen another virus wave since July over the fast spread of the omicron subvariant BA.5 and the government's lifting of virus curbs.

This photo, provided by a ward office in the southwestern city of Gwangju, shows people waiting to undergo COVID-19 tests in the city on Aug. 16, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



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