SEOUL, July 6 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new coronavirus cases increased for the second straight day on Wednesday, as the virus spread at a faster pace amid eased social distancing restrictions.
The country added 19,371 new COVID-19 infections, including 224 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 18,433,359, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Wednesday’s tally is up from 6,253 on Monday and 18,147 on Tuesday, and nearly doubled from 10,455 a week ago.
The KDCA has said the pace of the virus’ reproduction has recently increased amid waning immunity and eased social distancing rules.
The country added seven COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 24,583. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.
The number of critically ill patients increased by seven to 61, the KDCA said.
As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, local governments had reported 17,507 additional cases, down 1,099 from the same time Tuesday but nearly double the number one week before.
Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.
South Korea’s COVID-19 cases have been trending downward since they rose to an all-time high of over 620,000 in mid-March.
But the spread of infections has picked up steam recently amid waning immunity and eased social distancing rules.
Health authorities warned of a virus resurgence as subvariants of the coronavirus are spreading and more people are traveling for summer holidays.
Of the 19,147 locally transmitted cases reported Wednesday, Seoul accounted for 4,768 cases, with the surrounding Gyeonggi Province reporting 5,159 cases.
There were 1,022 infections in Incheon, around 30 kilometers west of Seoul. The three areas accounted for 57.2 percent of all infection cases.
Jeju Island, one of the most popular vacation spots for South Koreans, saw its new cases soar to 375, up from 275 on Tuesday and 171 on Monday.
Health authorities are stepping up efforts to secure a sufficient number of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients as well as for other special illnesses that require treatment.
As of Wednesday, a total of 5,827 beds are allocated in hospitals nationwide to treat COVID-19 patients.
The authorities are also urging municipalities and provincial governments to set up guidelines on medical contingency plans in case of COVID-19′s resurgence.