S.Korea daily COVID-19 cases top 100,000 for the first time, curfew eased
S.Korea daily COVID-19 cases top 100,000 for the first time, curfew eased

S.Korea daily COVID-19 cases top 100,000 for the first time, curfew eased

People wait in line to undergo the test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a temporary test site set up in Seoul, South Korea, February 16, 2022. REUTERS / Heo Ran

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SEOUL, February 18 (Reuters) – South Korea’s new daily COVID-19 case topped 100,000 for the first time in the midst of an Omicron outbreak, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Friday, although deaths have been relatively low in the highly vaccinated country.

The authorities announced on Friday that they would ease a curfew for companies a bit from kl. 21:00 to 22:00, but retain other measures, such as a ceiling of six people at private gatherings, a seven-day quarantine for international arrivals, mask mandates in public spaces and vaccine passports for a number of companies.

The measures will be in place until at least March 13, officials said, following the March 9 presidential election.

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As cases have escalated, South Korea has turned down the tracking, tracing and quarantine strategy that helped keep past waves in check.

Now people with few or no symptoms are treated at home instead of health facilities, and only people in priority groups get instant access to free PCR tests.

Others must first take a rapid antigen test for faster initial diagnosis.

Some experts predict that daily cases may still double or triple, but authorities say serious cases have so far remained manageable and the number of deaths is relatively low.

More than 58% of the country’s 52 million people have received the booster vaccine. In total, more than 44 million people, corresponding to 86.2% of the population, are fully vaccinated.

The KDCA said 109,831 new COVID-19 cases had been reported by midnight Thursday, bringing the country’s total to 1,755,809. A further 45 deaths were reported, for a total of 7,283.

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Reporting by Josh Smith Editing Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: Thomson Reuters trust principles.

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