February 03, 2022 09:44
Daily COVID-19 infections surpassed 20,000 on Wednesday morning for the first time, just a week after crossing the 10,000 mark on Jan. 26.
The number is expected to increase explosively once more people are tested on return from the Lunar New Year holiday.
According to health authorities, new infections stood at 22,907 on Thursday morning. Cases spiked even though fewer people had themselves tested.
The highly contagious Omicron variant is "spreading faster than expected. We'll face an alarming situation unless we curb its spread," Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said. "At the same time, we also have good news -- critically ill cases and deaths are clearly on the decline."
People under 30 are taking up the largest proportion of new cases. Infections were the highest among teenagers, many of whom are unvaccinated, at 18.1 percent or 2,251 per 100,000 population on Wednesday. The average in all age groups was 1,712 per 100,000 population.
On Jan. 2, cases among teenagers were a mere 1,335 per 100,000 population, fewer than among those in their 20s, 30s, and 60s.
The surge among teenagers seems to be due to their relatively low vaccination rate. The first-dose vaccination rate among children aged 12-19 is 72.6 percent and the second-dose vaccination rate 68 percent, far lower than the average percentages of 87 percent and 85.7 percent among all age groups.
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