SEOUL: South Korea reported a daily record of 1,784 coronavirus cases for Tuesday, breaking a mark set last week, as the authorities struggled to get on top of a surge in outbreaks linked to the Delta variant.
Transmission rates have been kept relatively low across the country despite no lockdowns thanks in part to aggressive testing and tracing, but the fourth wave of infections is proving particularly hard to contain as the unvaccinated fall victim to the Delta strain.
Genetic analysis of 2,381 infections last week found nearly 40 per cent were the Delta variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday. More than half the total 1,741 Delta variant cases since December were diagnosed last week.
Latest cases do not include at least 266 infections among sailors who were flown to Seoul on Tuesday after a navy destroyer patrolling the waters off Africa was found to be riddled with the coronavirus, Lee Ki-il, Deputy Minister of Health Care Policy, told a briefing on Wednesday.
The new distancing curbs, introduced about 10 days ago, have not been effective in containing the virus spread as the summer season has contributed to higher infections in beach vacation spot, said Lee.