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COVID-19 cases rising across Asia and Europe

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Disturbing numbers show coronavirus cases increasing across Asia and Europe as the winter wave takes hold just as vaccines are rolling out.

South Korea reported 950 new cases Saturday, marking the country’s biggest one-day increase since the start of the pandemic.

Concerns about hospitals becoming overwhelmed in the area around the capital, Seoul, are growing because 72% of the new cases were from the metro area. Contact tracing, a big part of South Korean strategy for combating the virus, is getting harder as cases pop up from just about everywhere. 

Six COVID-19 patients died in the past 24 hours, bringing the nation’s death toll to 578. The country has added more than 8,900 cases in the last 15 days, bringing the total caseload in South Korea to 41,736. Meanwhile, North Korea claims it still has no cases.

In nearby Japan, the number of new daily cases topped 3,000 for the first time, including 621 new cases in Tokyo.

Critics are targeting Japan’s government for not enacting tougher restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.

Cases are rising so fast in Italy, the country could soon reclaim its position as the European country with the most coronavirus deaths. The country added another 761 victims Friday, bringing its official total to 63,387, just short of Britain’s Europe-leading 63,603 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Like Japan, Italy’s older-than-average population is more vulnerable to COVID-19.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag in Berlin on Wednesday.
Markus Schreiber/AP

Germany, which also has an older population, though a lower death count at 21,000, recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus victims Friday at 598. The country is poised to tighten its lockdown as cases rise.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand started flights that won’t require quarantining upon landing between the two countries, which are nearly COVID-free. New Zealand and the Cook Islands are also planning a “travel bubble” between the two countries.

With Post wires

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