Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has again stressed on Friday that the eased coronavirus social distancing rules the government announced last week do not mean a relaxing of coronavirus prevention measures.
In an interagency meeting today, Kim said the fourth wave of infections is ongoing.
He said we will not be able to return to normal life until cases start to drop no matter how many people are vaccinated.
The prime minister pointed out that despite a recent drop in cases in non-metropolitan areas, the spread of the virus is speeding up again in the densely-populated capital region.
South Korea has reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for a 66th straight day.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said 1,892 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the last 24 hours along with five more virus-related deaths.
The latest figures raised the cumulative caseload to 269,362 and the death toll to 2,348.
Active cases remained at over 26,000 nationwide.
Authorities have warned another surge may be on the way as the number of patients infected with the highly contagious Delta variant continue to rise.
Meanwhile, transmissions could worsen as the major Chuseok fall harvest holiday approaches.
Millions are expected to travel across the country during the holiday to meet relatives.
U.S. President Joe Biden has announced sweeping measures to make Americans get vaccinated against the coronavirus as infections continue to surge in many states.
Vaccination will be mandatory for federal government workers, while large companies will have to ensure their employees are vaccinated or tested weekly.
Speaking from the White House, Biden expressed deep frustration with the tens of millions of Americans who have still not had shots, saying they are overwhelming hospitals.
"What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We have made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us."
Just over 62 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the disease having killed more than 654,000 people in the U.S., the highest in the world, and deaths and hospitalizations rising sharply with the fast spread of the Delta variant, the COVID crisis in the country has become politicized, with a vocal minority of people still refusing shots and mask mandates.
The foreign ministry in Seoul has expressed regret over Tokyo's approval of textbooks that refer to victims of wartime sexual slavery as "comfort women" and remove the expression "forced conscription" in reference to those forced to work against their will.
Critics say the move aims to whitewash Japan's past atrocities.
The ministry also pointed out that Tokyo had acknowledged the forced labor victims were taken "against their will and forced to work under harsh conditions" during a 2015 session of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.
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