New virus cases in 400s for 2nd day amid vaccination push in S. Korea
SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea's daily new virus cases remained in the 400s for the second straight day Tuesday amid efforts to boost the country's vaccination campaign, Yonhap reports.
The country reported 454 more COVID-19 cases, including 435 local infections, raising the total caseload to 145,091, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Tuesday's figure was down from 485 cases Monday. But daily cases usually go up starting Wednesday as more people get tested.
Daily caseloads have been going through some ups and downs between the 400s and 700s in recent months with no significant signs of a letup as cluster infections continue to pop up across the nation.
The country added one more death, raising the death toll to 1,975. The fatality rate was 1.36 percent.
Health authorities aim to inoculate 14 million people by the end of this month with an increased vaccine supply and 36 million by September. The country is seeking to achieve herd immunity in November but hopes it can be reached earlier than expected with the increased pace of inoculations.
From Monday, the country started to inoculate people aged 60-64 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, while military soldiers under age 30 received the Pfizer vaccine.
The country will begin administering Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine supplied by the U.S. government starting Thursday. It will be given to reserve forces, civil defense members and others in charge of defense and foreign affairs.
In July, South Korea plans to vaccinate teachers at schools and kindergartens as well as senior high school students and people in their 50s.
The government is looking to offer more incentives to vaccinated people to boost its inoculation campaign, such as giving exemptions from the private gathering ban and outdoor mask wearing.
Of the 435 newly locally transmitted cases, 139 came from Seoul, 125 from Gyeonggi Province and 11 from Incheon, 40 kilometers west of the capital.
The southeastern city of Daegu, once the country's virus hotspot, reported 33 more cases.
The government earlier said it will focus on containing the spread of the virus in the upcoming vacation season, recommending a staggered leave system for companies to curb congestion while enforcing enhanced social distancing rules for popular vacation spots.
There were 19 additional imported cases, down 12 from a day earlier, raising the total to 9,200.
Health authorities are especially keeping close tabs on COVID-19 variants from overseas that are believed to be more contagious.
The KDCA data showed the number of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients was 149, down three from the previous day.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 135,412, up 551 from a day earlier, with 7,704 people being isolated for COVID-19 treatment, down 98 from a day ago.