South Korea's new COVID-19 cases top 7,000 for first time since outbreak

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South Korea's new daily COVID-19 cases rose above 7,000 for the first time, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Wednesday, putting hospital capacity under strain as deaths and severe cases rise.

The government will mobilize additional personnel to oversee coronavirus patients treating themselves at home and improve the emergency transfer system to hospitals for those who develop severe symptoms under the at-home treatment, Kim told a COVID-19 response meeting. Private clinics will also treat COVID-19 patients in addition to large hospitals.

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South Korea has so far confirmed 36 cases of the Omicron variant.

With 80 percent of the country's cases in the greater Seoul area, authorities have struggled to secure enough beds for hospitalized patients.

South Korea imposed stricter measures on Monday, including reduced numbers of people allowed at private gatherings and expanding vaccine pass mandates to contain growing coronavirus infections and the Omicron variant.

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