South Korea has reported its highest number of deaths in a single day since the fourth wave of the pandemic started.
The Central Disease Control Headquarters said Thursday that 20 people died the day before, and this puts more pressure on the authorities to secure enough critical-care hospital beds, which have been running out in some regions.
The health authorities said that in the last seven weeks there have been 177 deaths.
Thirteen of them were people aged between 20 and 40.
"Fifty-eight percent of all critical cases in the pandemic have occurred during the fourth wave."
She added that in the last seven weeks amid the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the highest number of infections have been among people aged 20 to 40.
South Korea on Thursday reported one,8-hundred-82 cases, a decline of 272 from the day before.
All but 53 of them were local cases, and 64 percent were in the capital area.
New daily infections have been above a thousand every day since early July.
The health authorities said the social distancing measures imposed in the capital area, now at the highest level, have been effective in curtailing the spread.
But some experts say that while the distancing measures have been effective in that regard, they have exacted a disproportionate social cost.
They're also calling for reforms to improve their effectiveness and social equity.
"We need something more on top of current social distancing level.
First of all, I would recommend more restriction of working hours for non-essential establishments like cafes, bars and restaurants. And in those cases, the government should compensate fully for shortening of their running hours."
The government will be announcing special quarantine measures for the Chuseok holiday before the end of this month.
Eum Ji-young, Arirang News.