Seoul, 10 August 2021 (Yonhap/MIA) — South Korea has confirmed 2,641 more cases of four major contagious variants of the new coronavirus over the past week, including 2,555 cases of the highly transmissible delta variant, health authorities said Tuesday.
The caseload of such infections reached 10,766 in the country, with the number of delta cases, first reported in India, tallied at 7,467, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
The tally indicates that the delta variant is becoming the dominant strain of Covid-19 in South Korea, making it more difficult for health authorities to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The delta variant is behind a recent spike in the Covid-19 infections in Seoul and its neighboring areas, while showing signs of spreading much faster in the rest of the country. Health authorities said the country will witness more cases of the variants down the road.
The rate of variant cases detected through gene analysis came to 75.6 percent over the past week, up from 67.6 percent reported a week earlier, the KDCA said.
The corresponding figure for the delta variant was 73.1 percent, sharply up from 61.5 percent a week earlier, according to the health authorities.
The steady rise in variant cases poses a threat to the country’s virus battle currently dogged by a spike in new cases and the slowdown of its inoculation campaign.
On Tuesday, the country reported 1,540 new Covid-19 cases, bouncing back to above 1,500, the KDCA said. The total caseload was increased to 213,987.
Slightly over 20 million people have been inoculated as of Tuesday since the country started its nationwide vaccination program in late February.
In addition, South Korea has reported more than 1,500 coronavirus infections involving people who tested positive for Covid-19 even after being fully vaccinated.
The rate of breakthrough cases reported among those fully vaccinated is 0.02 percent, however. Out of more than 6.5 million people who have received the full-dose vaccine regimen, there were 1,540 breakthrough cases.
Of them, 15 people developed severe symptoms, and two cases resulted in death.
Of the total, 746 were administered with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine, followed by 420 with Pfizer’s and 340 with AstraZeneca’s, the KDCA said Tuesday.
Another 34 cases were administered with both AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, it said.
The KDCA said similar cases may increase as the country’s vaccine rollout revs up, though the proportion of breakthrough cases is extremely low and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of becoming a breakthrough case.
The authorities said even after full vaccination, a person can be infected with Covid-19.
They also said those who are classified as breakthrough infection cases have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.