Quarantine workers deployed from the South Korean military crawl into an arrival hall at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, on Friday, December 3, 2021.
Seong Joon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images
South Korea’s new daily Covid-19 cases rose above 7,000 for the first time, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Wednesday, putting pressure on hospital capacity as deaths and serious cases rise.
The number of infections in South Korea has skyrocketed this month after the government began easing restrictions in November under a so-called “living with Covid-19” scheme.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths on Tuesday, and hospitals are treating a record 840 critical and serious cases.
The government will mobilize additional staff to monitor coronavirus patients who are self-treating at home and to improve the emergency transfer system to hospitals for those who develop severe symptoms, Kim told a Covid-19 response meeting. In addition to major hospitals, private clinics will also treat Covid-19 patients.
Kim urged the elderly to get booster shots, as more than 35% of infections were found in people 60 and older, who account for 84% of severe cases. He also urged young people to get vaccinated.
South Korea has confirmed 38 cases of the ommicron variant so far.
With 80% of cases in greater Seoul, authorities are struggling to get enough beds for hospitalized patients in the area.
South Korea imposed stricter measures on Monday, including a reduced number of people allowed in private meetings and an extension of the vaccine pass mandate.
The country has so far reported a total of 489,484 cases of Covid-19, with 4,020 deaths. It has fully vaccinated 91.8% of the adult population aged 18 and over, KDCA data shows.