SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Reuters) – South Korea reported a record high of 3,292 new cases of COVID-19, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Thursday, as the country progresses through the first phase of its “life with COVID-19”. ” enters. 19″ with relaxed restrictions.
A rise in cases was forecast by officials and experts after many social distancing restrictions were lifted earlier this month after the country exceeded its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people. More than 78.5% are now fully vaccinated, including more than 90% of adults.
The KDCA says a rise in severe cases is also driven by the fading effects of coronavirus vaccines given to vulnerable groups such as the elderly earlier in the process, leading to an increase in breakthrough infections. read more
On Thursday, there were 506 serious cases, slightly less than an all-time high of 522 reported a day earlier.
To mitigate that spike, the KDCA said Wednesday it has decided to shorten the dosing interval for booster shots for people age 60 or older and those who live or work in nursing homes and other vulnerable facilities to four months.
Hospital beds are filling quickly around the greater Seoul area, with only about 30% of intensive care units (ICUs) available as of Wednesday.
The KDCA said it will consider issuing a circuit breaker on the relaxed curbs if more than 75% of ICU beds are used nationwide and other factors pose significant risks.
Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Richard Pullin
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