Seoul runs out of Critical care beds, South Korea reports Record Covid 19 cases

South Korea registered a record daily rise in novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday and the prime minister issued an urgent call for more hospital beds to meet with the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals were at breaking point with only three critical care beds available in greater Seoul, an area with a population of almost 26 million people, officials said. 

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, reads a transcript, “The top priority is securing more hospital beds". The transcript added “Full administrative power should be mobilised so that no patient would wait for more than a day before being assigned to her bed". The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 1,078 new coronavirus cases, the highest since the pandemic outbreak. The number of severe cases also hit a record of 226 and has more than doubled over the past two weeks, officials said. 

The KDCA reported 12 more deaths, the second day of double-digit death after a record 13 the day before. South Korea maintained cases relatively low during the previous two waves of infection, but the third wave has proven far more challenging for contact tracers to contain due to its emergence in the densely populated capital region. Most of the new beds came from public hospitals and authorities were considering expanding incentives to boost cooperation from private institutions, senior health ministry official Yoon Tae-ho said. South Korea has now reported a total of 45,442 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 612 deaths. 

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