South Korea recorded a daily record of 5,352 new COVID-19 infections and 70 fatalities, with a total of nine cases of the Omicron variant verified nationally, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) on Saturday.
The government said on Friday that persons entering restaurants, movies, and other public places will be required to display immunization cards. Starting next Monday, it will also reduce the limit for private meetings to six individuals in the greater Seoul region, down from ten now, and to eight from twelve for those living outside of the city.
The hospitalization rate was fast increasing, owing to severe COVID-19 cases, with 752 serious and critical patients as of Friday, according to KDCA.
South Korea has also confirmed three additional Omicron cases, bringing the total to nine after a fully vaccinated couple tested positive for the variant after travelling from Nigeria last week.
To fend off the new variant, authorities on Friday announced a 10-day mandatory quarantine requirement for all inbound travelers for two weeks, halting exemptions given earlier to fully vaccinated people.
South Korea has been battling the worst wave of infections since July, when the daily cases stood below 2,000 until the government switched to “living with COVID-19“. The cases hit 5,000s for the first time this week, putting a strain on the healthcare system.
The country, which has fully inoculated 91.7% of its adult population, has so far reported a total of 467,907 COVID-19 infections, with 3,809 deaths since the start of the pandemic.