As the COVID-19 Omicron mutation pandemic began in earnest, the number of new confirmed cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time today (26th).

The Central Quarantine Countermeasures Headquarters announced that as of 00:00 today, there were 13,12 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 762,983.

The number of new confirmed cases per day exceeded 10,000 for the first time in over two years since the first case of COVID-19 in Korea on January 20, 2020, and the highest in 737 days as of the announcement date.

Also, it has been 56 days since the first confirmed case of Omicron mutation in Korea on the 1st of last month.

4,441 more than the previous record of 8,571 yesterday.

The number increased by 4,400 in just one day, making it a new record for two days in a row.

Since the omicron mutation, which has more than twice the transmission power than the existing delta mutation, has become the dominant species in Korea, the number of new confirmed cases is increasing day by day.

In fact, the number of new confirmed cases today more than doubled to 5,804 on the 19th, a week ago, and tripled to 4,383 on the 12th, two weeks ago.

The number of new confirmed cases in each province also surpassed the previous record one after another.

As of 00:00 today, Gyeonggi recorded the highest number of new confirmed cases with 4,221, and Seoul also had the highest number of new cases with 3,178.

As a large-scale outbreak is expected, the government has switched the COVID-19 quarantine system to the 'Omicron response stage' from today.

The quarantine period for those who have been vaccinated, which is currently 10 days, will be shortened to 7 days.

In addition, in four regions, including Gwangju, Jeonnam, Pyeongtaek, and Anseong, where the Omicron mutation has become the dominant species, preemptive measures are being taken, such as allowing only high-risk groups such as close contacts and the elderly over 60 to receive the Corona 19 gene amplification (PCR) test. .

Applicants who wish to undergo other tests will undergo a rapid antigen test at screening clinics or respiratory clinics and, if positive, PCR test.

The quarantine authorities will allow rapid antigen testing at 256 screening clinics nationwide from the 29th, and 431 respiratory clinics nationwide and designated hospitals and clinics from the 3rd of next month.

The recent increase in the number of confirmed cases has not yet led to an increase in the number of severe cases and deaths.

As of 00:00 today, there were 385 patients with severe cases, 7 fewer than yesterday (392 people), maintaining the level of 300 for the second day.

Accordingly, as of 5 pm yesterday, the nationwide utilization rate of hospitals with severe COVID-19 was 17.8% (407 out of 2,289 used), down 1.1 percentage points from the previous day (18.9%).

The death toll rose by 32, bringing the total to 6,620.

The cumulative fatality rate is 0.87%.

However, quarantine authorities believe that as the number of confirmed cases grows, there is a high possibility that the number of severe cases and deaths will increase again with a lag of 2-3 weeks.

If you look at the route of infection of the new confirmed cases, 12,743 cases were local and 269 were imported.

The number of regional confirmed cases was 4,184 in Gyeonggi, 3,110 in Seoul, and 860 in Incheon, with 8,154 (64.0%) in the metropolitan area.

In non-metropolitan areas, Daegu 664, Busan 548, Gyeongnam 531, Gyeongbuk 438, Chungnam 403, Gwangju 392, Daejeon 366, Jeonbuk 293, Jeonnam 284, Chungbuk 243, Gangwon 158, Ulsan 142 , Sejong 76, and Jeju 51, a total of 4,589 (36.0%).

The total number of new confirmed cases, including regional outbreaks and overseas arrivals (excluding quarantine), was 8,278 in the metropolitan area alone, including 4,221 in Gyeonggi, 3,178 in Seoul, and 879 in Incheon.

The number of imported confirmed cases was 269, an increase of 54 from yesterday (215).

For one week from the 20th, the number of new confirmed cases was 6,601 → 6,767 → 7,7 → 7,628 → 7,512 → 8,571 → 13,12, an average of about 8 per day. 1,157 people.

This is the first time that the weekly average number of confirmed cases has reached 8,000.

(Photo = Yonhap News)