Breakthrough COVID cases surge in S.Korea

Coronavirus infections are surging again in South Korea, even though nearly 80 percent of its population have been fully vaccinated. The country's health minister says about 60 percent of the recent cases involve vaccinated people.

South Korea's full vaccination rate now stands at 79.4 percent. But infections are surging again as restrictions began to be eased in stages earlier this month.

The South Korean government says 3,901 new daily cases were confirmed on Thursday. It added that the number of seriously ill patients hit a record high of 617.

Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol told a meeting on Friday that so-called breakthrough infections accounted for 64 percent of about 15,000 cases reported in the second week of this month.

He added that the breakthrough infection ratio has risen to 85 percent of cases among people aged 60 or older.

Kwon noted that booster vaccinations are essential for speeding up the recovery of people's daily lives. He urged people aged 60 or older to receive booster shots soon, as they are more likely to get ill if they become infected.

He also stressed the importance of inoculating teenagers, as infection rates are now higher in younger people than adults. South Korea has lowered the eligible age for inoculation to 12.