South Korea again broke its daily records for coronavirus infections and deaths and confirmed three more cases of the new omicron variant as officials scramble to tighten social distancing and border controls.
The 5,352 new cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Saturday marked the third time this week the daily tally exceeded 5,000. South Korea’s death toll was at 3,809 after a record 70 virus patients died in the past 24 hours, while the 752 patients in serious or critical conditions were also an all-time high.
The country’s omicron caseload is now at nine after KDCA confirmed three more cases. The new cases include the wife, mother-in-law and a friend of a man who caught omicron from a couple he drove home from the airport after they arrived from Nigeria on November 24. The couple’s teenage child and two other women who also traveled to Nigeria also tested positive with the omicron variant.
Officials say the number of omicron cases could rise as some of the patients had attended a church gathering involving hundreds of people on November 28. From next week, private social gatherings of seven or more people will be banned in the capital city of Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, which have been hit hardest by delta and are now running out of intensive care units.
South Korea has mandated that all passengers arriving from abroad over the next two weeks to quarantine for at least 10 days, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status. The country has banned short-term foreign travelers arriving from nine African nations, including South Africa and Nigeria.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VOA NEWS
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