South Korea’s daily number of new cases hit a record high of 49,567 for Tuesday, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The daily tally has more than doubled in less than a week, and could reach up to 170,000 later this month, the KDCA said.
President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there needed to be a measure to ensure all voters can exercise their right to vote.
South Korea, with a 52 million population, has largely been a COVID-19 mitigation success story, with 1,131,239 total infections and 6,943 deaths, thanks largely to masks, distancing and aggressive testing and tracing.
But the government shifted its testing and tracing policy in the face of the Omicron spread in favour of self-monitoring and diagnosis and at-home treatment starting last week.
It also extended strict distancing curbs until Feb 20, including a 9pm curfew for restaurants, cafes and bars.
Nearly 96 per cent of South Korean adults have been fully vaccinated and some 64 per cent have received a booster shot.