This photo taken on Wednesday, shows paper bags that contain bread, masks and disinfectants for foreigners undergoing coronavirus tests in Gangneung, 240 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases rebounded to over 700 Thursday as the country's vaccination campaign nearly stalled over tight vaccine supply amid spreading variant cases.
The country reported 715 more COVID-19 cases, including 692 local infections, raising the total caseload to 129,633, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Thursday's daily caseload jumped from 635 cases Wednesday, 511 Tuesday, 463 Monday and 564 Sunday, and marks the highest since April 28 when it reached 775.
There were seven additional virus fatalities, raising the total to 1,891. The fatality rate was 1.46 percent.
The upsurge in daily infections came as the country's inoculation drive showed little progress recently due to tight supply of vaccines.
Since late February, the country has been ramping up its vaccination campaign with an aim to achieve herd immunity by November.
A total of 3,711,023 people, accounting for 7.2 percent of the country's population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines since the country started its vaccination program on Feb. 26, including 4,408 on Wednesday.
AstraZeneca's vaccine has been given to 2.03 million people, while 1.67 million have received that of Pfizer.
For almost a week, daily vaccination has hovered below 10,000 due to tight vaccine supply, but health authorities said shipments of vaccines are scheduled to arrive here on time without a major glitch.
Health authorities said around 8.95 million people between age 60 and 74 will receive vaccination shots in the coming weeks.
Starting May 27, people between age 65 and 74 will be administered with AstraZeneca's vaccine. Those between age 60 and 65 will receive AstraZeneca's vaccine starting June 7.
Of the locally transmitted cases, 466 cases came from the capital area, with 227 from Seoul, 222 from Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital and 17 from Incheon, just west of Seoul.
South Korea's southeastern port city of Ulsan and southern port city of Busan reported 31 and 20 more cases, respectively.
There were 23 additional imported cases, raising the country's total number of imported cases to 8,653.
The number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients was 160, down seven from the previous day.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 119,906, up 533 from a day earlier, with 7,836 people being isolated for COVID-19 treatment. (Yonhap)