Three-hundred-20 of them were local transmissions.
Amid the sharp rise in cases, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, who also doubles as the head of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, addressed the public on Friday.
“As the spread of COVID-19 has recently surged, K-Quarantine is facing a crisis again. As soon as the distancing level was raised, daily cases jumped to the triple digits. On top of that, for the last three days, we’ve been seeing 300-plus cases every day.”
However, the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases have released a statement asking the government to act quickly as the current measures, according to their studies, will put the daily number of cases up to 1,000 within a week.
They say that the cold weather and cluster infections could mean the country’s epidemiological capacity can’t keep up.
The majority of the new cases come from the capital region, with 218 local transmissions in and around Seoul.
It’s the first time since late August that the figure has surpassed 200, and if the weekly average is above 200, the government says it’ll be looking to raise the distancing level.
“It is becoming more apparent that the capital area is in the process of a large-scale outbreak as major outbreaks in the local communities have started. We are recognizing that this is a third wave following the outbreaks in February and March and in August.”
There has also been a sharp rise in the number of patients in critical condition.
As of Friday, the government says there are 112 available hospital beds for intensive care.
While it says it has some cushion for these patients, it will be expanding its capacity to 200 by the end of the year, and ultimately it aims to make up to 600 intensive care beds available.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.