South Korea’s daily increase in coronavirus infections has exceeded 2,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, continuing an alarming spread despite the enforcement of strict virus restrictions in large population centers.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-Cheol on Wednesday pleaded for people to stay home during the holiday break around Liberation Day on Friday. He said that “in our fight against COVID-19, we are entering a new phase, a new crisis.”
Officials said more than 1,400 of the 2,223 new cases are in the Seoul metropolitan region. Kwon says transmissions are also spreading at faster speeds in other parts of the country.
South Korea has so far administered the first doses of coronavirus vaccine to 42% of a population of more than 51 million.