South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed above 70,000 for the third straight day Thursday due to the spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant.
The country reported 71,170 new COVID-19 infections, including 320 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 19,009,080, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The daily caseload more than doubled to 73,582 on Tuesday from 26,299 a day earlier and rose to 76,402 on Wednesday.
The KDCA said it expected the omicron suvariant BA.5 to become the prevailing virus strain sooner or later due to an increasing number of inbound cases amid eased virus curbs.
The subvariant has spread fast since end-June with the start of the summer holiday season. The daily count hit over 10,000 on June 29 for the first time in about three weeks before jumping to over 20,000 on July 9 and then above 40,000 on July 13.
The health agency reported 17 deaths from the virus Thursday, putting the death toll at 24,794. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent. (Yonhap)