SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea recorded its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Sunday, despite prolonged COVID-19 restrictions and a high vaccination rate, raising fears of further spread during the upcoming holiday. Lunar New Year.
The country recorded 7,630 new cases on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, above the 7,009 cases reported a day earlier and near the mid-December record of 7 848 recorded.
In mid-January, South Korea extended stricter social distancing rules for three weeks, including a 9 p.m. curfew for restaurants, cafes and bars, and limits on private gatherings, before the holidays which begin on Saturday.
Tens of millions of Koreans across the country typically travel during Lunar New Year for family reunions during one of the country’s major holidays.
South Korea has recorded 733,902 COVID-19 infections and 6,540 deaths, according to KDCA data, although nearly 95% of adults have been fully vaccinated and more than half have received a booster shot.
To contain the rapid spread of the virus, health officials have required proof of vaccination and a booster to access most public facilities, but a court has ruled that department stores and teenagers should be temporarily excluded from the mandates of COVID-19 vaccine pass.
(Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by WIlliam Mallard)