The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,175 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths as of Tuesday, and hospitals are treating a record 840 critical and serious cases.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Wednesday that hospital capacity was under strain and that he was mobilizing additional staff to supervise coronavirus patients receiving treatment at home and improving the emergency transfer system to hospitals for those who develop severe symptoms.
Private clinics will also treat COVID-19 patients in addition to large hospitals.
Infections in South Korea have skyrocketed this month after the government began to ease restrictions under a so-called “living with COVID-19 in November” program.
Kim urged the elderly to receive booster shots, as more than 35% of infections have been detected in people aged 60 and over, who account for 84% of severe cases. He also urged teens to get vaccinated.
South Korea has so far confirmed 38 cases of the Omicron variant. With 80% of cases in greater Seoul, authorities have struggled to secure enough beds for hospital patients in the area.