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South Korea's virus surge exceeds 7,000 for 3rd straight day

Dunya News

South Korea's virus surge exceeds 7,000 for 3rd straight day

 SEOUL (AP) — New coronavirus infections in South Korea exceeded 7,000 for the third consecutive day on Friday in a record-breaking surge that has crushed hospitals and threatens the country’s goals to weather the pandemic without lockdowns.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said during a virus meeting that the country could be forced to take “extraordinary” measures if the virus doesn’t slow soon. Officials issued administrative orders requiring hospitals around the country to designate 2,000 more beds combined for COVID-19 treatment.

Kim said the government will also speed up the administration of booster shots by shortening the interval between the second and third vaccine injections from the current four or five months to three months starting next week.

Around 41.5 million people, or 81% of the population of over 51 million, have been fully vaccinated, but only 10% have received booster shots.

The delta-driven spread in recent weeks has been accompanied by a spike in hospitalizations and deaths, many among people in their 60s or older whose immunities have waned after being inoculated early in the vaccine rollout that began in February.

Officials tightened restrictions starting Monday, banning private social gatherings of seven or more people in the greater capital area and requiring adults to verify their vaccination status at restaurants and other indoor venues. But Kim said such measures haven’t yet showed an effect in slowing transmissions.