SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases bounced back to above 70,000 in two months on Tuesday in a sign that the virus may surge again in the winter.
The country reported 72,883 new COVID-19 infections, including 50 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 26,290,877, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
It marked a sharp rise from 23,765 on Monday, and it is the highest tally since Sept. 15 when there were 71,444 new infections.
South Korea’s COVID-19 outbreaks have recently shown an on-week increase, with authorities warning against a possible wintertime resurgence.
The previous wave of the omicron subvariant peaked at over 180,000 cases on Aug. 17.
South Korea added 39 COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, raising the death toll to 29,748. The number of critically ill patients stood at 412, down one from the previous day.
Health authorities are concerned about the relatively low inoculation rate of a booster dose of the BA.4/BA.5- adapted bivalent vaccine during wintertime, which could accelerate the pace of the virus wave.
The KDCA recommended that the winter inoculation rate should reach at least 60 percent among the medically vulnerable groups. Currently, 10.8 percent of those in their 60s and older have received a booster dose of the BA.4/BA.5- adapted bivalent vaccine.
Starting Monday, Pfizer’s advanced COVID-19 booster shot is available for walk-ins and reservations for people aged 18 and older who were infected or vaccinated 120 days ago or earlier.
The BA.5 variant of COVID-19 has become the dominant strain in South Korea, taking up around 91 percent of total infections in the first week of November.