Omicron on Course to Becoming Dominant Strain in Korea

      January 11, 2022 09:31

      The Omicron variant has risen to over 10 percent of all COVID-19 infections in Korea over the past month.

      According to health authorities on Monday, Omicron made up a mere 1.7 percent of infections in the third week of December, rising to 4 percent in the fifth week of December and 12.5 percent in the first week of January.

      Accumulated Omicron infections jumped from 38 on Dec. 7 to a whopping 2,351 on Jan. 7.

      "Omicron infections will spread faster and faster," said Lee Sang-won of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. "There's a high chance of Omicron becoming the dominant variant in the country by the end of January." 

      A medical researcher looks at diagnostic samples for coronavirus testing in Sejong City on Dec. 30, 2021. /Newsis

      Young children and adolescents who have not been vaccinated are emerging as the most dangerous spreaders. Children under 10 topped the list of COVID-19 infections in all age groups at 12.6 per 100,000 population in the first week of January, followed by 9.2 among teenagers. That was even higher than the number among the over-60s at 3.5 to 5.3.

      The government is now trying to increase the vaccination rate of children and youngsters but progress remains slow amid resistance from parents. In a recent setback, a court upheld a petition against the government by a number of youngsters and parents and suspended the mandatory use of vaccine passes at crammers and other study spaces.

      As of Tuesday morning, the daily tally of new infections stood at 3,097, below 4,000 for five days running. Severe cases numbered 780 and deaths 43. 

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