South Korea has reached 20-thousand cases of COVID-19.
This comes after the nation reported 235 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 20,182.
The unwanted milestone comes seven months after South Korea saw its first coronavirus patient back on January 20th.
The number of new cases has been falling for five straight days now after the number peaked at over 400 last Thursday.
However, with the sudden rise in the number of critically ill patients, health authorities are facing another crisis.
The country saw 104 patients in critical condition on Tuesday.
This is more than an eleven-fold jump from the 9 critical patients reported roughly two weeks ago.
Health authorities are saying this is related to the recent increase in the number of patients in their 60s as the outbreaks of major cluster infections from the Sarang Jeil Church and August 15th rally are made up of more elderly people, generally categorized as a ‘high-risk’ group.
This has put hospital beds for critically ill patients at a premium, sparking fears the healthcare system might be edging toward breaking point.
In fact, five local governments including the cities of Gwangju and Daejeon have reported that there are zero hospital beds for serious patients that can be used right away.
Health authorities pledged to create 40 more intensive care beds by mid-September and secure more beds by relocating patients once their conditions improve.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
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