South Korea reported 119,922 new COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours as of midnight Tuesday, the highest daily figure in 110 days since mid-April amid a rapid spread of the new COVID-19 sub-variant.
SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases hit the highest in 110 days, bringing the total number of infections to over 20 million, official data showed Wednesday.
The country reported 119,922 new COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours as of midnight Tuesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
It was the highest daily figure in 110 days since mid-April amid a rapid spread of the new COVID-19 sub-variant.
The daily caseload was compared to 100,245 tallied a week earlier and 76,372 two weeks earlier. For the past week, the daily average number of confirmed cases was 86,520.
The total number of COVID-19 cases came to 20,052,305. It topped 20 million less than five months after surpassing 10 million on March 23.
It has raised worries that infections among the elderly people rose sharply during the recent resurgence. In the week ending July 30, the number of infected people aged 60 or older was 94,752, compared to 14,215 recorded three weeks earlier.
The number of infected people who were in a serious condition increased to 284, from 177 a week earlier and 96 two weeks ago.
Of the total serious cases, 48.2 percent were people in their 80s or older, 23.6 percent in their 70s and 10.9 percent in their 60s.
Twenty-six more deaths were confirmed from the pandemic, taking the death toll to 25,110. The total fatality rate was 0.13 percent.
KDCA Commissioner Peck Kyong-ran told the parliamentary committee on Tuesday that health authorities would consider a re-introduction of social distancing rules only when the fatality rate surges to around 0.8 percent or it is about to lack beds for the infected people.
The previous government has lifted all anti-coronavirus measures since April 18, except an indoor mask mandate.
President Yoon Suk-yeol said last month that his government's basic anti-coronavirus principle would be a "scientific" response, emphasizing self-reliance and responsibility of the ordinary people in dealing with the pandemic.
To shift the responsibility for the fight against the pandemic to ordinary people, his government reduce by half the number of people who can receive government subsidy for living costs when infected with the coronavirus, forcing the infected people to pay for virus tests and treatment in hospitals.
The previous government paid all the medical bills and offered subsidies for the infected people as part of efforts to encourage the public to voluntarily take the test and be placed under self-quarantine, so as to curb the spread of the virus.
Local newspaper Dong-A Ilbo reported that dissatisfactions escalated over the Yoon government's decision to lower financial support for the infected people, warning that a growing number of people could go to work even after testing positive for COVID-19 with self-test kits.
With the arrival of the summer vacation season, which is expected to entail a massive movement of people, the number of COVID-19 cases may surge further in the coming weeks.
In the latest tally, the number of imported cases hit a new daily high of 600, lifting the total to 45,900.
The figure has stayed in triple digits since the South Korean government relaxed anti-coronavirus measures targeting foreign visitors to the country on June 24.