SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases fell to slightly under 1,800 Saturday, but the number of critical patients kept rising, while health authorities started to discuss special antivirus measures for the upcoming Chuseok holidays.
The country added 1,793 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,738 local infections, raising the total caseload to 246,951, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Saturday’s tally compares with 1,811 on Friday, 1,882 on Thursday, 2,155 on Wednesday, 1,509 on Tuesday and 1,418 on Monday. Daily cases have stayed above 1,000 for 53 days in a row.
The country added 11 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,276, the KDCA said.
The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 409, staying above 400 for a fifth consecutive day amid the protracted fourth wave of the pandemic led by the highly contagious delta variant.
Critical patients more than tripled from some 120 in early July, when the fourth wave began.
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, 1,474 additional infections were reported across the nation, down 155 from the tally posted at the same time the previous day, according to health authorities and local governments.
Among them, 512 were confirmed in Seoul, 400 in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 90 in the western port city Incheon.
The delta-driven infections have been sweeping the nation, weakening the effect of the nationwide antivirus measures and the toughest restrictions in the greater Seoul area that have been implemented for six weeks.
The greater Seoul area, home to half of the nation’s 52 million population, has been under Level 4 restrictions, the highest of the four-tier virus curbs, for the past six weeks, while most other areas have implemented Level 3 distancing for the last four weeks.
The current social distancing measures were extended Monday until Sept. 5.
Under the tougher measures, restaurants and cafes are required to close at 9 p.m., an hour earlier than the previous nighttime curfew.
The semi-lockdown measures prohibit gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m. and ban the operation of nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
Of the newly confirmed domestic cases, 559 were from Seoul, 532 from the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and 91 from the western port city of Incheon, the authorities said.
The southeastern port city of Busan identified 75 new patients, and Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, had 76 more, they said.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 216,989, up 2,316 from the previous day.
As of Saturday, a total of 28.34 million people, or 55.2 percent of the population, have received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, and 14.34 million people, or 27.9 percent, have been fully vaccinated, the KDCA said.
The government aims to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the nation’s population by September to create herd immunity in November.