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S. Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases down for four straight days

A health care worker collects a swab sample from a visitor to a testing facility in central Seoul, Sunday. (Yonhap)
A health care worker collects a swab sample from a visitor to a testing facility in central Seoul, Sunday. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases have decreased for four straight days, according to data reported by the country’s health authorities, Sunday.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the country recorded 318,130 COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours of Saturday, staying below 400,000 for the fourth consecutive day. The total caseload reached 11,815,841.

The country’s daily COVID-19 cases have been decreasing since Tuesday, when the figure surpassed 490,000 cases during the 24 hour period that day

The daily tally reported on Sunday was also down from the figures reported on previous Sundays, 334,642 on March 20 and 350,168 on March 13.

The government currently sees the omicron wave here passed its peak after the country added 621,317 cases on March 16.

The decreases, however, have been slow and gradual due to the spread of the stealth omicron subvariant, which is regarded as being more transmissible than the original omicron variant.

Despite steady decreases in the number of daily infections over the past few days, COVID-19 related deaths and critically ill patients continued to remain high.

On Saturday, the country added 282 new COVID-19 deaths, down 41 from the previous day. The fatality rate came to 0.13 percent.

The number of critically ill patients reached 1,216, up from the previous day’s 1,164. The tally reported on Sunday was the second highest following 1,244 severe cases reported on March 16.

The number of severe cases remained above 1,000 for 20 straight days since the country reported 1,007 severe cases on March 8.

The hospital bed occupancy rate for seriously ill COVID-19 patients also climbed 1.5 percent points from the previous day to reach 67.8 percent, or 1,915 out of 2,825 hospital beds available.

Meanwhile, the country’s health authorities on Saturday started to administer pharmaceutical company MSD’s oral antiviral medicine Lagevrio to severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The government said it will import antiviral medicines -- Lagevrio and Pfizer’s antiviral treatment Paxlovid -- for a total of 460,000 critically ill patients by the end of April.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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