Asia/Pacific

South Korea hits new record with 634 total coronavirus deaths

South Korea on Thursday hit a new daily record for coronavirus deaths after 22 patients died due to the virus within 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 634 COVID-19 fatalities. 

According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the country had 1,014 new cases on Thursday, with nearly 800 coming from the densely populated capital of Seoul. 

The Associated Press reported that among the 12,209 active coronavirus patients, 242 are in serious or critical condition. 

Thursday also marked the 40th consecutive day of triple-digit daily case jumps, with the South Korean case total now at 46,453 confirmed infections. 

This comes after South Korea received praise earlier this year from the World Health Organization and others for the country’s handling of the pandemic, successfully halting the spread of its initial outbreak and managing to avoid strict lockdown measures imposed by other countries. 

However, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a press conference Sunday that the government may be forced to issue its tightest restrictions on public life so far in the face of new case surges. 

Moon said at the time that the country could move to its third level of coronavirus-related restrictions if case numbers are not brought under control, a level that would mean an end to in-person classes for schools as well as a provision requiring only essential workers reporting to work in person.

“Unless the outbreak can be contained now, it has come to the critical point of considering escalating social-distancing measures to the third level,” he said at the time. 

“Our back is against the wall,” Moon added. “This is a crucial moment to devote all our virus control capabilities and administrative power to stopping the coronavirus spread.”

The AP reported Thursday that new restrictions could also include bans on gatherings of more than 10 people and a shut down of tens of thousands of businesses considered non-essential. 

Last month, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announced that “year-end events and parties hosted by hotels, party rooms, guest houses and other accommodation facilities will be banned outright” amid the new surge.

Tags coronavirus covid-19 coronavirus death toll coronavirus deaths coronavirus restrictions South Korea The Associated Press World Health Organization

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