A health worker gets a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Seoul. File/Reuters
South Korea reported 700 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily figure since early January, and the Prime Minister reiterated warnings on Thursday that new social distancing rules would likely be needed.
Wednesday’s tally compares with an average of 477 cases last week, according to data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and will fuel fears that the country may be facing a fourth wave of infections.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting a new wave of infections could disrupt South Korea’s vaccination programme which has been suffering delays as the international vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX struggles to provide promised doses on time.
South Korea also said on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend providing AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to people below 60 as it undergoes reviews in Europe.
It also approved a Johnson & Johnson shot in a bid to speed up its inoculation rollout.
Officials have said that a new round of restrictions are likely to be announced as soon as Friday. South Korea currently limits private gatherings of more than four people.
South Korea has to date reported 107,598 infections in total, with 1,758 deaths.
A year ago, India had observed what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a people’s curfew, marking the start of a chaotic nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the virus. With 11.6 million cases, India is now the worst-affected country after the United States and Brazil.
The number of confirmed daily infections have since almost tripled to around 30,000, matching the record numbers that were reported in December. The country is also reporting around 150 deaths per day, up from around 65 at the start of the month.
Deaths were at their highest since mid-December, according to a Reuters tally, with 354 people dying of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the ministry said, taking total mortalities to 162,468.
The Roads and Transport Authority said on Twitter, “RTA announced the timings of its services during the holiday marking Commemoration Day and the UAE 51st National Day.
He also affirmed that the gesture also reflects one of the UAE’s key national values of tolerance.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has pardoned 333 prisoners from Punitive and Correctional Institution in Sharjah ahead of 51st UAE National Day.