Public/Global Health

South Korea reports largest COVID-19 surge since start of pandemic

South Korea on Friday reported its third consecutive day of more than 7,000 COVID-19 infections, marking its largest surge since the start of the pandemic, according to The Associated Press.

While critics of South Korea’s government have blamed the recent surge in cases on lessened social distancing, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has said that the increase in coronavirus cases could force government officials to implement “extraordinary” measures in order to curb the spread, the news outlet noted.

“If it becomes clear that we aren’t succeeding in reversing this crisis situation within the next few days, the government will have no other choice but to employ extraordinary anti-virus measures, including strong social distancing,” he reportedly said.

Hospitals across South Korea have reportedly been ordered to designate an additional 2,000 beds specifically for COVID-19 patients in an effort to ease pressure on hospitals located in Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan region, which have reported that nearly 90 percent of intensive care units are occupied.

South Korea’s deputy health minister, Lee Ki-il, told the AP that officials may also place more restrictions on social gatherings and businesses’ operating hours if COVID-19 cases do not decline by next week.

“We will try our best to avoid a lockdown,” Lee said.

South Korea has reported more than 41,000 coronavirus cases over the past seven days with a daily average reaching well over 5,800 infections, AP reported. The country has seen a total of 503,000 cases and 4,130 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Tags coronvirus cases COVID-19 South Korea Surge

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