South Korea records highest ever daily COVID deaths and more than 600,000 cases in 24 hours

South Korea has recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as the country continues to battle a surge of Omicron cases. Health officials reported 429 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, nearly 140 more than the previous one-day record set on Tuesday. More than 621,000 new infections were reported, another record daily jump, shattering Wednesday's previous high of 400,624. Read more:Revealed: The most common ways people are still taking precautions against COVID The latest figures pushed the national caseload to more than 8.2 million, with 7.4 million cases recorded since the start of February. Advertisement Despite the rise, government health authorities have maintained their message that Omicron is no deadlier than seasonal influenza for vaccinated people and believes the strain of coronavirus is nearing its peak. The country still has a much lower rate of COVID deaths than the US or some European nations, in relation to population size. More on Covid-19 Related Topics: Officials attribute this to high vaccination rates, with more than 68% of the population having received booster jabs. However, some experts have criticised the country's government for easing social distancing rules and communicating to the public that Omicron causes mild symptoms. It is also likely the transmission of the virus was made worse by an intense presidential campaign leading up to last week's election, which appeared to have reduced political capacity to maintain a stringent COVID response. Omicron surge bigger than expected Speaking during a briefing, Lee Sang-won, a senior Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency official, said that health authorities feel "apologetic" over the explosion of Omicron cases, which has been bigger than they had anticipated. He said around 70,000 of the new cases reported on Thursday were infections that were mistakenly omitted from Wednesday's tally, and that the real daily increase would be around 550,000. Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts,  Google Podcasts,  Spotify, Spreaker As a result of the Omicron surge, the country has been forced to focus its limited medical resources on priority groups, meaning stringent COVID response tests, contact tracing and quarantine have been abandoned. Nearly two million people with mild or moderate symptoms have been asked to isolate at home to save hospital space.

South Korea records highest ever daily COVID deaths and more than 600,000 cases in 24 hours

South Korea has recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as the country continues to battle a surge of Omicron cases.

Health officials reported 429 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, nearly 140 more than the previous one-day record set on Tuesday.

More than 621,000 new infections were reported, another record daily jump, shattering Wednesday's previous high of 400,624.

Read more:
Revealed: The most common ways people are still taking precautions against COVID

The latest figures pushed the national caseload to more than 8.2 million, with 7.4 million cases recorded since the start of February.

Despite the rise, government health authorities have maintained their message that Omicron is no deadlier than seasonal influenza for vaccinated people and believes the strain of coronavirus is nearing its peak.

The country still has a much lower rate of COVID deaths than the US or some European nations, in relation to population size.

More on Covid-19

Officials attribute this to high vaccination rates, with more than 68% of the population having received booster jabs.

However, some experts have criticised the country's government for easing social distancing rules and communicating to the public that Omicron causes mild symptoms.

It is also likely the transmission of the virus was made worse by an intense presidential campaign leading up to last week's election, which appeared to have reduced political capacity to maintain a stringent COVID response.

Omicron surge bigger than expected

Speaking during a briefing, Lee Sang-won, a senior Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency official, said that health authorities feel "apologetic" over the explosion of Omicron cases, which has been bigger than they had anticipated.

He said around 70,000 of the new cases reported on Thursday were infections that were mistakenly omitted from Wednesday's tally, and that the real daily increase would be around 550,000.

Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts,  Google Podcasts,  Spotify, Spreaker

As a result of the Omicron surge, the country has been forced to focus its limited medical resources on priority groups, meaning stringent COVID response tests, contact tracing and quarantine have been abandoned.

Nearly two million people with mild or moderate symptoms have been asked to isolate at home to save hospital space.