Omicron rages, new Covid cases in S.Korea surpasses 17,500

SEOUL: With the implementation of a new statewide virus response system, South Korea's daily Covid-19 cases reached yet another record high on Saturday, owing to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible omicron strain.

According to sources quoting numbers issued by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency . (KDCA), , the country reported 17,542 new Covid-19 infections, including 17,349 local cases, bringing the total to 811,122. For the sixth day in a row, the daily total surpassed the previous high of 8,570, set on Tuesday.

Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 6,712 people, up 34 from Friday. A death rate of 0.83 percent was recorded. There were 288, down 28 from the previous day, critically ill Covid-19 patients. In the coming weeks, the number of infections might reach 100,000 each day, according to the public health service. To combat the omicron wave, South Korea unveiled a new virus response system on Saturday.

Both fast antigen self-tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests will be used at the 250 testing stations set up at public health facilities and large hospitals. People have the option of choosing which one they want to take.

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