S. Korea reports 7,630 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, second-biggest peak
Updated: 2022-01-23 14:41:49 KST
South Korea today saw its new COVID-19 cases rise to their second-highest number yet.
With new cases above 7-thousand for a second straight day, health officials are planning to take a new approach to testing and quarantine.
Min Suk-hyen has the latest.
South Korea reported 7,630 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, up 622 from the day before.
Of the new cases, more than 96 percent were locally transmitted and less than 4 percent were from overseas.
Sunday's figure is the country's second-highest so far, the record having been set last month at 7-thousand 848.
The daily number of cases has been rising fast from about 3,800 cases early this week to over 6-thousand cases on Thursday and now to more than 7-thousand on Saturday and Sunday.
To date, the number of cases since the start of the pandemic now stands at over 733-thousand.
There were 11 more fatalities reported Sunday, raising the death toll to 6,540.
The number of patients who are severely ill stands at 431, which is less than half of last month's peak.
Health officials have warned that the Omicron variant is fueling a steep rise in cases, and that Omicron will be the dominant strain by sometime this week.
It currently accounts for 47 percent of new infections.
With daily cases now above 7-thousand, health authorities plan to introduce new systems for testing.
Rapid antigen tests will be introduced at COVID-19 testing centers, while PCR tests will only be used for high-risk groups.
This will first take place in areas where Omicron is most prevalent, including Gwangju, Jeollanam-do Province, Pyeongtaek, and Anseong, before it's applied nationwide.
And starting Wednesday, the self-isolation period for those who are fully vaccinated will be shortened from ten days to a week.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News.