20% of South Korean Population Infected with COVID-19

South Korean authorities said Wednesday that 10 million or 20% of its population were infected with coronavirus, and the surging severe cases and deaths increasingly put a strain on crematories and funeral homes nationwide. 

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 490,881 new infections, raising the total caseload to 10,427,247 with 13,432 deaths, adding to concerns that infections continue to spike again as the accumulated caseload surpassed 10 million.  

On Monday, the health ministry instructed 60 crematories nationwide to operate for longer hours to burn up to seven bodies from five and asked the 1,136 funeral parlors capable of storing some 8,700 bodies to expand their facilities. 

Health authorities cited the possibility of the current outbreak continuing due to the fast spread of a so-called “stealth Omicron,” which has a 30 percent higher transmission rate than the original Omicron. 

Meanwhile, KDCA said that 63.2 percent of the 52 million population had received booster shots, and 86.6 percent were fully vaccinated. 

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