The number of COVID-19 patients in serious or critical conditions hit a record high of 124 on Wednesday, raising fears over a possible shortage of hospital beds and a spike in fatalities.
The country reported 267 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday – 253 locally transmitted and 14 imported — pushing the total caseload to 20,449, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Korea’s daily new COVID-19 cases stayed below 300 for the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday as the country tightened social distancing rules in place amid a resurgence of the coronavirus in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Health authorities are on high alert over surges in patients with severe conditions, with unclear infection routes as well as sporadic, simultaneous virus outbreaks popping up across the country.
The number of COVID-19 patients in serious or critical condition was 124 as of midnight Wednesday, up 20 from a day earlier. This marks a sharp rise from only nine people on Aug. 18. Transmission routes for a record high of 24.3 percent of the new cases reported from Aug. 19-Sept. 1 were unidentified, according to the KCDC.
COVID-19 cases linked to the Sarang Jeil Church and to a massive rally held in central Seoul on Aug. 15, which are at the center of the resurgence of COVID-19 here, continue to rise. A total of 1,083 and 419 cases were traced to the Seoul-based church and the rally, respectively, as of Tuesday at noon.
Of the locally transmitted cases, 187, the vast majority, were registered in the Seoul metropolitan area — 98 in Seoul, 10 in neighboring Incheon and 79 in Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital.
Outside the Seoul metropolitan area, 14 new cases were reported in Daejeon, 13 in Daegu, 10 each in Incheon and Gwangju, seven each in South Chungcheong Province and Busan, five in Ulsan, three each in South Jeolla Province and North Gyeongsang Province, two in Gangwon Province and one each in North Chungcheong Province and in Jeju Island.
Of the 14 imported cases, 11 were identified while the individuals were under mandatory self-quarantine in Korea, with the other three detected during the quarantine screening process at the border. Seven cases originated in the United States, six cases in Asia and one case in Europe. Six of the newly diagnosed people were foreign nationals. So far, 15,356 people, or 75.09 percent, have been released from quarantine upon making full recoveries, up 158 from a day earlier. Some 4,767 people are receiving medical treatment under quarantine.
Two more people died of the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 326. The overall fatality rate amounted to 1.59 percent. The country has carried out 1,980,295 tests since Jan. 3, with 56,748 people awaiting results as of Wednesday.
Source: The Korea Herald