People wait in line for a coronavirus disease test at a testing site in Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap)
South Korea‘s daily COVID-19 cases stayed above 6,000 for a second consecutive day as of midnight Thursday, largely as the spread of the omicron variant picks up pace.
As of midnight Thursday, the country added 6,769 new COVID-19 cases, which raised the total caseload to 719,269, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
The country‘s daily caseload surpassed 6,000 on Wednesday for the first time in 27 days, after staying below the mark since Dec. 24, when the figure reached 6,233.
In the meantime, the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients was 431 as of midnight Thursday, while the country added 21 COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 6,501. The fatality rate stood at 0.9 percent.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said omicron cases accounted for 47.1 percent of the total COVID-19 caseload throughout the week. It added that it expects the new variant to officially become the dominant strain next week.
Health authorities now expect the number of COVID-19 daily coronavirus cases to surpass 7,000 by Wednesday next week.
“Omicron cases are expected to account for around 80-90 percent of the total within one or two weeks,” an official from the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said.
The government is likely to accounce an omicron-tailored response system accordingly. Previously, health authorities said it will introduce revised COVID-19 restrictions when daily cases go over 7,000.
By Shim Woo-hyun (email@example.com