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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit nearly two-month high

Nov. 9, 2022 - 09:55 By Yonhap
A medical worker holds up a vial of a vaccine at a public facility in Seoul on Oct. 18. (Yonhap)

South Korea's new coronavirus cases reached the highest level in nearly two months Wednesday to stay over 60,000 for a second day, as the country is bracing for another wave of the virus in winter.

The country reported 62,472 new COVID-19 infections, including 42 from overseas, bringing the total to 25,981,655, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

It is the largest daily count since Sept. 15, when the country reported 71,444 infections.

The country has seen a growth in infections in recent weeks amid declining immunity and the growth in people's outdoor activities. The comparable figure a week ago was 54,737, and the country saw 40,817 infections two weeks earlier, according to KDCA data.

The country added 59 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 29,479. The fatality rate was 0.11 percent.

The number of critically ill patients stood at 336, down 24 from a day earlier, the KDCA said.

"New infections have shown an uptrend for four weeks in a row, and the reproduction rate surpassed 1 for three consecutive weeks, indicating that the winter resurgence has begun in earnest," Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said.

The reproduction rate represents new infections estimated to stem from a single case.

"In preparations for the new wave, the government will strive to further expand the vaccination campaign and medication programs, particularly for vulnerable groups," he added.

Health authorities have warned that highly contagious omicron subvariants could trigger a new wave with cases possibly peaking as high as 200,000 in winter. Adding to woes is a possible outbreak of a "twindemic" of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza.

The government is expected to announce a set of antivirus measures later in the day. On Monday, the government expanded bivalent booster shots to all adults aged over 18. (Yonhap)