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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit over 17,000 for 3rd day amid Lunar New Year holiday

31 January 2022 18:56

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases hit more than 17,000 for the third consecutive day Monday due to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant amid the annual exodus for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The country reported 17,085 new COVID-19 infections, including 16,850 local cases, raising the total to 845,709, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, Yonhap reports.

It inched down from the previous day's 17,532 cases, ending the six-day record-breaking streak that began Tuesday.

The death toll from COVID-19 came to 6,755, up 23 from Sunday. The fatality rate stood at 0.80 percent.

The number of critically ill COVID-19 patients was 277, remaining unchanged from the previous day.

The health authorities said the detection rate of the omicron strain reached 80 percent last week, up sharply from 50.3 percent tallied a week earlier.

The country added 7,010 more omicron cases over the past week, putting the total at 16,879, the KDCA said. The fatality rate of the omicron variant is 0.15 percent.

Health officials said it took only five weeks for omicron to account for 80 percent of the country's COVID-19 infections, but its fatality and severity rates are far lower than those of the delta strain.