People wait in line for COVID-19 tests at a local testing station in Mapo-gu, Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s new daily infections continued to stay high Thursday, according to government data released Friday. The government noted the spread is expected to last for a while.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the number of COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours of Thursday reached 138,812, bringing the total caseload to over 22 million.
The daily tally was down from the previous day’s 178,574 cases, but up from 128,714 cases one week prior.
The number of critically ill patients on Thursday came to 492, up from 472 a day before.
The country also reported 83 COVID-19 new deaths on the day. It was the highest figure since May 6, when the country added the same number of deaths from the virus.
“Due to increased activities during the summer season, the latest COVID-19 pandemic is continuing its spread,” Lee Ki-il, second vice minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said during a COVID-19 response meeting on Friday.
Lee said the government will try to ensure the country’s medical capacity is sufficient even when daily cases spike unexpectedly. The government’s current goal is for the country’s medical response to be ready if daily infections reach 300,000, Lee added.
Lee noted the government is still focusing on minimizing the number of severe cases and deaths from the virus.
According to Lee, the government has secured 10,002 one-stop medical centers for COVID-19 patients so far. The second vice minister also said the country has produced antiviral pills for around 630,000 COVID-19 patients, available at 2,148 drug stores across the country at the moment.