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S. Korea maintains crowd limits because omicron causes a 25-fold spike

SEOUL, South Korea (AP). South Korea will increase restaurant hours but keep a limit of six people for private social events as it battles a huge coronavirus outbreak caused by the highly infectious omicron variant.

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S. Korea maintains crowd limits because omicron causes a 25-fold spike

S. Korea maintains crowd limits because omicron causes a 25-fold spike

SEOUL, South Korea (AP). South Korea will increase restaurant hours but keep a limit of six people for private social events as it battles a huge coronavirus outbreak caused by the highly infectious omicron variant.

Friday's 109,831 cases was another record. This is a 25-fold increase over the mid-January levels, when omicron was the dominant strain in the country. South Korea's caseload has risen to more than 1.75 million thanks to the 516,000 infections that were reported in the last seven days.

LONG lines surrounded Seoul's public health offices and testing stations. Health workers wearing hazmat suits distributed rapid-antigen kits and took nasal and throat samples from seniors and other high-risk populations.

Concerns are also raised about the possibility that the campaign for March 9's presidential election could lead to worse transmissions. Many thousands of supporters filled a rally held in Suncheon, the southern city, by Lee Jae-myung's ruling party candidate. They clapped, shouted, and chanted his name. At a Sangju rally, Yoon Suk Yeol, Lee's conservative opponent, also attracted large crowds. The Omicron variant has been less likely to cause death or serious illness than the delta variant which struck the country in January and December. However, the number of cases is increasing faster than expected and could lead to a surge in hospital admissions.

Seoul's No. 1 Prime Minister Kim Bookyum. Moon Jae-in's second official, Kim Boo-kyum, Seoul's No.

Officials extended the curfew to restaurants and other businesses from 9:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Private social gatherings of seven people or more will remain prohibited at least until March 13.

To enter places like coffee shops, bars, and karaoke rooms, people will need to continue to show proof of vaccinations via smartphone apps or paper.

Kim stated that experts expect the outbreak to peak between February and March. We will begin to reduce social distancing like other countries when we can confirm that the outbreak has ended and people can return to their normal lives.

According to the Health Ministry, 30% of COVID-19-treated intensive care units are currently occupied. According to the ministry, 385 patients with virus were currently in critical or serious condition. This was 100 more than one week ago but still below the level of about 1,000 that was seen in December during a Delta outbreak.

Although omicron is more common in those who have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated, experts believe that booster shots and vaccinations still offer strong protection against serious illness and death.

Over 86% of South Koreans are fully vaccinated, and 58% have had booster shots. In order to meet this demand, health officials began offering the fourth shot at long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

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