The country added 2,152 more COVID-19 cases, including 2,114 local infections, raising the total caseload to 230,808, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Daily infections reached a record high of 2,222 cases on Aug. 11 as people increased their gatherings and activities in the summer season despite the toughest virus curbs.
The daily cases exceeded 1,000 for the first time on July 7 and has stayed above 1,000 for 44 days in a row.
The country added 13 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 2,191. The fatality rate was 0.95 percent.
South Korea has been grappling with the fourth wave of the pandemic since early July amid the fast spread of the more transmissible delta variant and slow vaccinations.
The greater Seoul area, the epicenter of the latest wave of the outbreak and home to half of the country’s 52 million people, has been under the Level 4 distancing measures, the highest in the country’s four-tier system, since July.
The southern resort island of Jeju and some other regions are also under the toughest virus restrictions.
To contain the pandemic, the KDCA said Wednesday it will decide on Friday whether to maintain the strongest Level 4 distancing measures for another two weeks.
The greater Seoul area will be placed under the strongest curbs possibly till the Chuseok holiday in mid-September.
A delay in the vaccine supply by US drugmaker Moderna Inc. is also complicating the country’s efforts to accelerate the vaccine rollout.
Moderna recently notified the government that it will supply less than half of the 8.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine planned for August.
The supply setbacks have raised doubts over the government’s plan to administer at least the first shot to 70 percent of the population, or 36 million people, by September and to achieve herd immunity in November.
As of Thursday, 24.30 million people, or 47.3 percent of the population, had received their first shots of COVID-19 vaccines, the KDCA said.
The number of fully vaccinated people stood at 10.81 million, or 21.1 percent.
Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul reported 570 new cases, and Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds the capital city, identified 641 new patients. The southeastern port city of Busan reported 136 more cases, and Incheon, 40 km west of Seoul, added 153 cases.
The number of new imported cases came to 38, raising the total to 12,995.
The number of patients with serious symptoms across the country reached 390, up from 366 a day earlier, the KDCA said.
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 201,235, up 1,653 from a day earlier. (Yonhap)Internet Explorer Channel Network