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South Korea sets new infection record for second day

The Associated Press/Mike Zacchino

South Korea on Thursday surpassed its daily record for COVID-19 infections for the second consecutive day with more than 5,200 new cases.

The latest uptick in infections, though driven by the delta variant, comes as South Korea has detected its first five cases of omicron. Those cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria, The Associated Press reported. 

Now, the country will require anyone arriving from an international destination to undergo a 10-day quarantine regardless of their nationality or vaccination status.

On Sunday, South Korea prohibited short-term international travelers from eight southern African nations, including South Africa, from entering the country. Those rules will also apply to foreigners arriving from Nigeria, the AP added.

The commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Jung Eun-kyeong, said the government intended to conduct omicron testing on all international travelers who test positive for COVID-19. She added that anyone in close contact with a person infected with omicron have to be quarantined for at least two weeks, even if that person is fully vaccinated, the wire service reported.

The country’s disease control agency reported that more than 4,100 of the 5,266 new COVID-19 cases came from Seoul, the country’s capital city, and its surrounding region. Officials have said that 90 percent of intensive care units allocated to COVID-19 patients are occupied in the region, the AP also noted.

Though government leaders have previously been hesitant to reinforce strict pandemic-related restrictions, some expect officials to announce more social distancing policies as early as Friday, including limiting private social gatherings and indoor dining hours, according to the AP.

Tags COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea Delta variant Omicron variant Social distancing South Korea

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