The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

S. Korea sees uptick in COVID-19 cases amid resurgence worries

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Oct. 23, 2022 - 16:01

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People wait in line at a temporary COVID-19 testing station located nearby Seoul Station, Jung-gu, Seoul, Sunday. (Yonhap) People wait in line at a temporary COVID-19 testing station located nearby Seoul Station, Jung-gu, Seoul, Sunday. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s daily COVID-19 infections increased Saturday, while a new variant was confirmed in the country, fanning concerns for a resurgence in the winter.

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the number of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday reached 26,256, slightly down from the previous day’s 26,906 cases.

The daily figure, however, was up around 4,800 from the previous week’s 21,569 and up 8,610 from two weeks ago.

The country reported 16 new deaths from the virus during the 24 hours of Saturday.

The number of critically ill patients came to 212, up 16 from a day earlier, according to health authorities.

South Korea has seen on-week increases in the number of daily COVID-19 infections for four consecutive days, raising concerns over a possible resurgence in the following months.

The reproduction rate reached 1.09 in the last week, surpassing 1 for the first time in nine weeks, the KDCA said Friday.

The reproduction rate represents new infections estimated to stem from a single case. A reading over 1 means the virus will continue to spread, while a reading below 1 means the virus' propagation will start to die down.

Confirmed cases of the new variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are increasing likelihood of a resurgence as well. The government last week reported a few confirmed cases of the new variants called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, which are now rapidly spreading in the United States.

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants are currently accounting for some 20 percent of the daily infections in the US.

According to Jung Jae-hun, a professor of preventive medicine, BF. 7 variant is expected to lead the resurgence in the number of daily infections in South Korea, but it will be later fueled by BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants.