South Korea marks its deadliest day, more than 1,000 cases

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea has added more than 1,000 infections to its coronavirus caseload for the second consecutive day amid growing fears that the virus is spiraling out of control in the larger main area.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Thursday that the death toll at COVID-19 is now 634 after 22 patients died in the past 24 hours, the deadliest day since the pandemic outbreak. Of the 12,209 active patients, 242 are in a serious or critical condition.

Nearly 800 of the 1,014 new cases were reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health officials have raised the alarm about an impending shortage of hospital capacity. Thursday marked the 40th consecutive day of three-digit daily jumps, bringing the national caseload to 46,453.

The viral resurgence came after months of pandemic fatigue, complacency and government efforts to revive a sluggish economy.

Officials are now considering whether to cap the restriction of social distance, which may include a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, closing tens of thousands of businesses considered non-essential, and those that have more workers at home. have to make it work.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region:

– The World Health Organization says the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines will not end the pandemic anytime soon, and Western Pacific countries are not guaranteed early access to the shots. WHO regional director, Dr. Takeshi Kasai says the vaccines are not “a panacea that will end the pandemic in the near future.” He says, “The development of safe and effective vaccines is one thing. Producing them in sufficient quantities and reaching everyone who needs them is a different story. While some countries that have independent vaccine purchase agreements may launch vaccination campaigns in the coming months, other countries may see vaccination begin in mid or late 2021, said Dr. Socorro Escalante, WHO Coordinator for Essential Medicines and Health Technologies. emphasize that most, if not all, Western Pacific countries are part of the COVAX facility, ”said Escalante. COVAX was founded by the WHO, the vaccine alliance GAVI and CEPI, a global coalition to combat epidemics, in a attempt to ensure fair access to vaccines around the world WHO representatives also insisted that high-risk groups should be given priority in vaccination as vaccines will be available in limited quantities.

– Tokyo reported 822 new cases of the coronavirus, a new high for the Japanese capital. Infections have been on the rise across the country for several weeks. Japan reported 2,988 new cases on Friday for a total of 187,103, including 2,739 deaths. Experts from the Tokyo Task Force raised caution levels for the medical systems to the highest, suggesting that most Tokyo hospitals have little additional manpower or beds to continue their usual treatment for other patients. “We must stop further acceleration of infections,” said Tokyo government Yuriko Koike. “To prevent serious cases and deaths and to keep the medical systems from collapsing, I ask everyone to cooperate.” Koike said Tokyo is expanding a request for early closure of drinking establishments, which would end Thursday to mid-January. Norio Ohmagari, director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center, said the number of daily cases could exceed 1,000 within weeks. About half of the cases are no longer traceable because infections are transferred to homes, offices and schools, experts said. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, apparently reluctant to further harm companies already affected by the pandemic, has been slow to take action. After repeated phone calls from experts, Suga announced plans last Friday to suspend the government’s travel promotion campaign from December 28 to January 11 following media polls showing a sharp drop in its approval ratings.

– Authorities are looking for the source of an emerging COVID-19 cluster in Sydney’s northern coastal cities. Australia’s largest city was without community communication for 12 consecutive days until Wednesday, when a driver transporting international flight crews in a van to and from Sydney Airport tested positive for the coronavirus. On Thursday, six people were infected with the virus through community transmission in Sydney, as well as six returning travelers who were infected abroad and tested positive in hotel quarantine. The new infections include a woman who works at the Pittwater Palms aged care center, which has since been closed to visitors. A drummer in a band who had played in various clubs in Sydney in recent days has also been infected.

– The Australian Open men’s tennis tournament starts three weeks later than planned on February 8 due to the pandemic. The ATP said men’s qualification for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season will be moved to Doha, Qatar, from January 10-13. That will be followed by a period of approximately 2 1/2 weeks set aside for travel to Melbourne and a 14-day quarantine period for players and their coaches or other support personnel. Other tournaments not taking place next year include the New York Open and an event in Auckland, New Zealand. The ATP is looking for new dates for the Rio Open, which was set to start on February 17, but now conflicts with the two-week Australian Open main draw. As with other sports, tennis was disrupted this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including several months without competition, the postponement of the start of the French Open from May to September and the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II. .

– The New Zealand economy has returned to where it was before the coronavirus hit, after GDP rose by a record 14% in the third quarter. The increase followed a record 11% decline in the second quarter and a small decline in the first quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. In the year to September, GDP fell by 2.2%. Leading the recovery in the third quarter were goods-producing industries, up 26%, and the services sector, up 11%. New Zealand has eliminated the spread of the virus through the community, at least for now, and many aspects of life are back to normal. However, the country’s borders remain closed.


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