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S. Korea reports 4,194 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with 612 currently in critical conditions Updated: 2022-01-16 14:53:49 KST

South Korea reported 4,1-hundred-94 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
This is a drop of more than 200 cases from the day before, but compared to Sunday last week, it's a rise of about 800.
According to the country's health authorities, this increase following the recent sustained decline is due to the more transmissible Omicron variant.
In fact, the authorities say Omicron will make up more than 50 percent of all new cases by this coming week, and at the current speed, the country could see up to 30-thousand cases a day by the end of March.
Omicron accounts for an especially large proportion of imported cases at 88 percent even as imported cases overall rise steeply.
On Sunday the imported tally came to 381, the third highest number so far, and was up from around a 100 early this month.
That said, as the authorities try to stop the spread, they've extended the current distancing measures and have eased them only slightly.
For the next three weeks, restaurants and cafes will still to close at 9 PM for on-site dining.
But, starting Monday, groups of up to six people will be allowed to gather up from four, previously.
As for the number of severe cases of the disease, the number has stayed below 700 for three days in a row, down from the thousand-plus seen earlier this month.
With this, the current occupancy for ICU beds stands just below 32 percent, a stable situation for now.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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