A medical staff member takes a swab for a Covid-19 test at a temporary testing station in Seoul on December 16.
A medical workers member takes a swab for a Covid-19 take a look at at a short lived testing station in Seoul on December 16. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Photographs

South Korean well being officers have warned residents to take present restrictions critically, because the nation faces the potential for getting into into its first potential lockdown because the starting of the pandemic.

South Korea has lengthy been thought of a mannequin nation for its efficient Covid-19 response. Regardless of being among the many first international locations to be hit by the virus, it has managed to keep away from the kind of stringent lockdown measures seen elsewhere on this planet, thanks largely to a mix of aggressive testing and complicated monitor and hint methods.

However because the pandemic drags on into winter, the emergence of a so-called “third wave” has resulted in an apparently untraceable rise in new infections.

Rising circumstances: On Tuesday, South Korea reported 1,078 new circumstances — the nation’s highest day by day rely but — bringing the nationwide whole to 45,442, based on the Well being Ministry. The vast majority of the circumstances had been domestically transmitted.

Some 226 sufferers are in vital situation, whereas there have been a further 12 deaths Tuesday, growing whole fatalities to 612.

Talking Wednesday, senior Well being Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho urged folks to observe social distancing measures within the Seoul metropolitan space, which accounts for round half of the nation’s 51 million inhabitants.

Officers at the moment are debating whether or not to lift restrictions to the next alert degree, with many involved it may hurt small companies and the self-employed.

Final ICU mattress: Seoul now solely has one single ICU mattress devoted to Covid-19 left within the metropolis, the performing mayor stated on Wednesday.

Some 77 of the whole 78 devoted beds are occupied by coronavirus sufferers. And 85.7% of whole devoted beds throughout hospitals are occupied, including additional pressure to well being techniques which can be already struggling.

Town will safe 18 further ICU beds by finish of the yr, authorities stated.

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South Korea warns of potential lockdown as coronavirus numbers rise

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