We start with the COVID-19 situation in South Korea.
We're expecting to see another record number of daily COVID-19 infections.
This comes as concerns rise that a cluster outbreak of the Omicron variant among members of a church in Incheon is now in Seoul.
For more on this and other related updates,.. joining us is our reporter Shin Ye-eun, Good morning
Ye-eun, let's start with the number of new COVID-19 infections we're expecting today. Usually we see a higher number of COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, with more people having been tested following the weekend.
That's right. We're actually expecting to see the highest tally ever reported here in the country.
Wednesday's figures will surpass 6-thousandand maybe even reach the low 7-thousands.
Because up to 9 pm Tuesday, the country reported the highest number ever reported during this timeat 5-thousand 7-hundred-4.
This was 2-thousand 1-hundred 46 more than what had been reported at the same time the day before.
And 1-thousand 8-hundred-47 more than the same time last week.
The Omicron variant has been posing somewhat of a threat here. Tell us how that particular situation is unfolding.
Well on Tuesday, we saw the number of Omicron cases in the country go up by 12bringing the total identified to 36.
There are worries that the cluster outbreak found at a church in Incheon could have now spread to universities in Seoul as three students attended the church.
One student had come into contact with a total of 1-hundred 39 students in the library and 30 more at an offline class.
What's worrisome is that some of the Omicron infections we've witnessed so farhave been transmitted very quickly.
One person has been infected by just being inside the same restaurant as an individual with Omicron.
As a matter of fact, they had only come into contact for 1 to 2 minutes, prompting authorities to say that Omicron seems to be much more transmissible than the Delta variant.
They added, there is a very high chance Omicron can spread through the airwhich means the variant could spread not just through direct contactbut by staying in a closed space for a considerable period of time with someone that has been infected.
It remains to be seen just how contagious Omicron is and how easily it can spread compared to other variants.
As you mentioned, we still don't know much about the Omicron variant. How much longer do we need to wait to find out exactly what this new variant is, and how it can affect us.
That's a very good question.
Experts around the world say it may take two to three more weeks.
At the moment, they're studying how easily the Omicron variant can be passed from one person to another.
Early data suggests that current COVID-19 vaccines can prevent Omicron patients from developing severe illness or symptoms.
In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseasessaid Omicron is "almost certainly" not more severe than Delta.
While talking to news outlets on Tuesday, Fauci cited data from South Africa.
He said the ratio between the number of infections and the number of hospitalizations seem to be less than the Delta variant.
Fauci added that Omicron seems much more transmissible than Delta.
The variant had spread to more than 50 countries since it was first detected roughly a month ago.
Yet again, we still need more data to see whether this is truly the case.
We still don't know how contagious Omicron is, but we do know it's spreading quickly to more parts of the world. Update us on that.
I'll start off with South Africa, the first country the Omicron variant was detected.
The variant is now the dominant strain there.
2-hundred 28 have been confirmed with this strain.
Along with the uptick in Omicron casesdaily COVID-19 cases have jumped nearly 40-fold over the last monthfrom around an average of 2-hundred 70 to 10-thousand 6-hundred per day.
The Maldives has also saw its first case of the Omicron variant on Tuesday in a tourist from South Africa who arrived in the country on November 27th.
This tourist had arrived before the Maldivian government banned travel to the Maldives from 8 countries in Africa, including South Africa.
Israel, boasting one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, has also seen Omicron cases go up.
The number rose to 21 on Monday.
The Health Ministry said of the 21 cases, 13 were "fully protected"which in Israel means anyone who has received a booster shot, recovered from COVID-19, or received their initial two vaccine shots within the past six months.
Thank you for your report Ye-eun. We will see you again tomorrow morning.