South Korea’s new day by day COVID-19 instances fell beneath 200,000 for the primary time in 25 days Monday, because the omicron-driven virus peak seems to have handed amid rising considerations over the unfold of the much more transmissible “stealth omicron” subvariant.
The nation added 187,213 new coronavirus infections, together with 25 instances from abroad, bringing the overall caseload to 12,003,054, the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company (KDCA) stated.
It’s the first time since March 2 that the day by day caseload dropped beneath 200,000. On March 2, the determine got here to 198,803.
Folks stand in line to take coronavirus checks at a makeshift testing website in entrance of Seoul Station on March 27, 2022. South Korea reported 318,130 new virus instances on the day. (Yonhap)
Well being Minister Kwon Deok-cheol stated the virus wave reached the height round final week and has shifted to a downward pattern some 11 weeks after a drastic enhance in infections.
Greater than 10 million instances out of the 12 million COVID-19 infections to this point have been reported since final month, with the day by day tally surging to as excessive as 621,197 on March 17 amid the raging omicron variant.
However the caseload has been on a continuing slide since Wednesday. Monday’s tally is down from 318,130 reported the day prior to this, and the comparable determine for every week earlier is 209,000.
“However we can’t let down our guard, because the variety of critical instances and deaths may spike additional two to 3 weeks after the height,” Kwon stated throughout a gathering over the nation’s response to the brand new coronavirus.
The nation added 287 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday, up 5 from the day prior to this’s tally. The fatality charge stood at 0.13 %.
The variety of critically sick sufferers reached an all-time excessive of 1,273 on Monday, up 57 from the day prior to this, the KDCA stated. The earlier document of was 1,244 logged on March 16.
As of 6 p.m., the nation had added 244,419 new COVID-19 instances, down 86,869 from the identical time the day prior to this, in response to well being authorities and metropolis governments.
Each day instances are counted till midnight and introduced the next morning.
Severe instances rose to above 1,000 earlier this month and have since been above the extent, although the KDCA expects the determine to cease in need of surpassing 2,000, as the expansion has slowed down just lately.
Some 70 % of the nation’s hospital beds reserved for critical COVID-19 sufferers have been occupied as of Monday, up 2.2 share factors from the day prior to this, in response to the KDCA.
Including to the woes is the prevalence of the BA.2, the “stealth omicron” subvariant.
BA.2 turned the dominant variant in South Korea by accounting for 56.3 % of the overall infections final week, up from 22.9 % within the first week of this month, the well being authorities stated.
“Because the stealth omicron has been spreading at a quick tempo, the variety of virus sufferers has moved up once more in some European nations. We have to monitor the state of affairs extra intently earlier than positively saying if the pandemic is monitoring downward,” Kwon stated.
He additionally pointed to “hidden infections,” as there could possibly be some folks attempting to shun a virus take a look at regardless of signs.
As of Monday, 32.63 million folks out of the overall inhabitants, or 63.6 %, had acquired booster photographs. The variety of absolutely vaccinated folks got here to 44.47 million, representing 86.7 %, the KDCA stated.
The federal government as soon as once more known as on folks, significantly these aged 60 or older, to get a booster shot, because the proportion of infections of the age group has risen just lately to remain above 20 %.
Aged residents additionally accounted for a majority of the nation’s significantly sick sufferers and new deaths, in response to the KDCA.
Final week, the federal government moreover purchased Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 therapy capsule, Paxlovid, for 200,000 sufferers, bringing the nation’s whole contracted quantity of the therapy drugs to sufficient for 962,000 folks, the KDCA stated.
Final week, the authorities additionally started administering MSD’s oral capsule, Lagevrio, for sufferers with underlying diseases or signs that forbid them from taking Paxlovid or different therapy drugs.
The nation purchased a complete of Lagevrio drugs for 242,000 sufferers, and the primary batch, sufficient for 20,000 folks, has arrived to this point, the KDCA stated.
In a transfer to higher help at-home therapy sufferers, the federal government vowed to have extra smaller-scale native medical clinics present face-to-face therapy to them.
The federal government has shifted away from rigorous contact tracing and therapy, and targeted on coping with significantly sick sufferers and methods to stop deaths following the omicron-driven wave of the pandemic.
The federal government is predicted to announce a choice round Friday on whether or not to additional chill out antivirus curbs, as the present restrictions, together with the eight-person cap on personal gatherings and the 11 p.m. enterprise curfew, are speculated to expire Sunday.
The federal government has relaxed some social distancing guidelines in efforts to regain normalcy, and help small companies and self-employed folks hit onerous by the pandemic.