South Korea reports record high 342,446 new daily COVID-19 cases

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People wait in line to undergo the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a temporary testing site set up at City Hall Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, February 10, 2022. REUTERS/ Heo Ran/File Photo

South Korea reported a new record daily high 342,446 COVID-19 cases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Wednesday, amid a surge of Omicron infections.

The country also reported an additional 158 deaths from the virus, KDCA said.

South Korea is in the grip of an Omicron COVID-19 wave, with more than 200,000 new virus cases being recorded most days this month.

As the country gears up for the final day of its presidential election on Wednesday, more than a million people are currently isolating at home after testing positive, health authorities say. The country amended its electoral laws last month to ensure they would be able to vote.

People infected or in quarantine can walk in or take taxis or ambulances provided by local offices to the polling stations to vote in isolated booths. They are allocated an hour at the end of the second day of early voting and an hour and a half on Wednesday.

South Korea had early success in containing outbreaks and surges with aggressive testing and contact tracing.

Although the government’s pandemic management was not a major campaign focus, the Omicron spike of the past week is affecting the voting as it drives cases to record highs. 

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