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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases soar to all-time high of over 50,000 amid raging omicron

Citizens receive rapid antigen tests at a test center in eastern Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Citizens receive rapid antigen tests at a test center in eastern Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's daily COVID-19 infections rose sharply to hit another high of over 50,000 on Thursday amid the fast spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant across the nation.

The country reported 54,122 new COVID-19 infections, including 54,034 local cases, raising the total to 1,185,361, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

It marked the first time that the daily tally exceeded the 50,000 level. The previous daily record high was 49,567 recorded Wednesday.

The daily caseload surged to over 30,000 for the first time Saturday, just three days after breaking the 20,000 mark, and stayed between 30,000 and 40,000 for four days in a row.

New infections have soared by nearly fourfold over the past two weeks over the omicron variant, which accounted for more than 92 percent of the total cases reported last week.

The health authorities have warned that the figure could reach 170,000 by around the end of this month, though it is too early to say if it will be the peak of the omicron surge.

The death toll from COVID-19 came to 6,963, up 20 from Wednesday. The fatality rate was 0.59 percent, the KDCA said. (Yonhap)



By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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