Published: 09:21, January 17, 2022 | Updated: 18:26, January 17, 2022
S. Korea reports nearly 200,000 breakthrough COVID-19 cases
By Agencies

A medical worker wearing protective gear takes a sample from a woman at a temporary screening clinic for the coronavirus in Gwangju, South Korea, on Jan 3, 2022. (JO NAM-SU / YONHAP VIA AP)

BANGKOK / SYDNEY / HANOI / SINGAPORE / ANKARA / JERUSALEM / DHAKA / NEW DELHI / ULAN BATOR / RAMALLAH / KUALA LUMPUR / SEOUL / KATHMANDU / MANILA / TOKYO - South Korea registered a total of 199,749 breakthrough COVID-19 infections, which refer to the vaccinated people who were infected with the virus, the health authorities said Monday.

The number of those who tested positive for COVID-19 after receiving two vaccine doses came in at 199,749 as of Jan 9, up from 187,611 a week earlier, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

It accounted for 0.475 percent of the fully vaccinated people that reached 42,051,045.

It is known that people can be protected from the virus two weeks after the full vaccination.

Among the total breakthrough cases, the number of critically ill patients was 2,527. The death toll stood at 1,348.

The number of those who were infected with COVID-19 after receiving booster shots was 7,927 on Jan 9, taking up 0.053 percent of the total 15,102,415 who got the booster jabs.

The number of critically ill patients who received booster shots was 49, and the death toll came to 26.

In the latest tally, the country reported 3,859 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 696,032. It fell below 4,000 due to fewer virus tests over the weekend.

Health care workers administer COVID-19 tests at a drive-through clinic in Sydney on Dec 31, 2021. (BIANCA DE MARCHI / AAP IMAGE VIA AP)


Authorities of Australia's state of New South Wales (NSW) warned on Monday that the number of COVID-19 deaths is "likely to be high" over the coming days due to the extent of community transmission.

The state health department reported 29,504 new COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00 pm Sunday. Hospitalization numbers continue to rise, with 2,776 COVID-19 patients in hospital including 203 in ICU.

Health officials warned that there will be a high number of COVID-19 deaths, as around half of the eligible people in NSW haven't received their third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said only one of the 17 people that died had been boosted.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet added that among Monday's figures, half of the people in ICU are unvaccinated.

ALSO READ: Australia's daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100,000

Commuters (left) gesture to a magistrate after being stopped and fined by policemen while outdoors without a facemask, along a street in a mobile court in Dhaka on Jan 13, 2022. (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP)


With COVID-19 cases surging again, private and public testing facilities in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka are now witnessing an unprecedented rush of patients.

Long queues were seen Sunday at one of the largest testing centers in Dhaka, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, where tests are conducted at a nominal fee.

In the past week, queues are also getting longer outside many other private and public facilities, which share RTPCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) results within 12 hours.

Bangladesh reported 5,222 new COVID-19 cases and eight new deaths on Sunday, bringing the tally to 1,617,711 and death toll to 28,144, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

On Saturday, the country reported 3,447 new cases. The cases have been rising remarkably in Bangladesh since the beginning of this month with offices, businesses and transport services in the country staying open.

Bangladeshi authorities on Thursday started to impose stringent rules to combat a fresh spike in COVID-19 infections.

In parts of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, mobile courts initiated drives and fined those violating the restrictions.

A policeman stands guard at the deserted wholesale Sadar Bazar market during a weekend lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in New Delhi, India on Jan 15, 2022. (ALTAF QADRI / AP)


India's capital Delhi and financial hub Mumbai have reported a big fall in COVID-19 infections in the past two days and most of those who contracted the virus have recovered at home, authorities said on Monday.

Mumbai's daily new infections fell below 10,000 on Sunday for the first time since early this month, after touching an all-time high of 20,971 on Jan. 7. It reported 7,895 infections late on Sunday, Mumbai's municipal corporation said.

Delhi's cases have fallen consistently since hitting a peak of 28,867 on Jan 13 and is expected to be fewer than 15,000 on Monday, for the first time since early January, the city government's health minister told reporters.

Both cities have said more than 80 percent of their COVID-19 hospital beds have remained unoccupied since the fast-transmitting Omicron variant led to a massive surge in cases from the start of the year.

Experts have attributed the low hospitalizations to high levels of previous infections and vaccination. India has fully vaccinated about 70 percent of its 939 million adults and hopes to give the primary two doses to another 70 million or so teenagers by next month.

The government has advised states to mainly ask only people with symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested instead of random checks like earlier that badly stretched resources, especially in the last major wave in April and May when millions were infected and tens of thousands died.

India's COVID-19 infections rose by 258,089 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday, taking the tally to 37.38 million - the most in the world after the United States.

A man gets a PCR coronavirus test at a private nursing home in Netanya, Israel on Jan 5, 2022. (ARIEL SCHALIT / AP)


The Israeli health ministry announced 27,167 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the country's total number of infections to 1,785,551.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Israel grew by 16 to 8,319. The number of patients in critical condition went up by 49 to reach 436 on Sunday, the highest daily increase in more than three months.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Israel has reduced to 259,204, according to the ministry, while the rate of positive results from all daily COVID-19 tests conducted in the country has dropped from 14.02 percent to 9.5 percent.


Japan will bring forward COVID-19 vaccination booster shots by as much as two months, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant sends infections soaring nationwide.

In a policy speech to parliament, Kishida also said Japan would fortify defence capabilities around its southwestern islands near Taiwan, and that the marked improvement of North Korea's missile technology should not be condoned.

With an upper house election slated later this year, containing the pandemic is critically important for Kishida. His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, stepped down last year after his voter support crumbled as COVID-19 surged.

"The Kishida administration puts the highest priority on its coronavirus response," the prime minister said in the speech marking the start of a regular session of parliament.

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk on the street in Tokyo, Jan 12, 2022. (KOJI SASAHARA / AP)

Meanwhile, the governors of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures agreed on Monday to request further measures from the central government, including shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants, to help counter rising COVID-19 infections.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told an online meeting of governors that the occupancy rate of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients was estimated to have reached 20 percent on Monday, a key threshold for requesting additional steps.

The measures being considered by the government will cover nine prefectures in addition to Tokyo, broadcaster FNN reported earlier.


Mongolia reported 1,673 new local COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 410,542, the country's health ministry said Monday

More than half of the latest confirmed cases were detected in the national capital Ulan Bator, the hardest-hit area by COVID-19 and home to over half of the country's population of 3.4 million.

Meanwhile, the country's COVID-19 death toll rose to 2,013 after one patient died in the past day.

Students rest after being inoculated with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a school in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, on Jan 10, 2022. (Prakash MATHEMA / AFP)


Nepal began giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Monday as coronavirus infections surged due to the spread of the Omicron variant, officials said.

Daily cases jumped by 4,961 on Sunday, the biggest 24-hour increase in more than six months, taking total infections to 955,206, government data showed. COVID-19-related deaths stand at 11,620, the data showed.

The booster shots will be restricted to frontline workers for one week from Monday, the Health Ministry said, after which they'll be offered to people 60 and older.

“The booster shots will be given to those people who have completed six months after getting a second vaccine dose,” the government said in a statement.

Nepal has double-vaccinated 39.9 percent of its 30 million people in a campaign that began early last year.

The government has banned large public gatherings and closed schools and colleges until the end of January to curb the rate of infection.

Authorities have also made it compulsory for people to produce proof of full vaccination to use public services from this week, prompting large queues at vaccine centers.

In this Feb 23, 2021 file photo, Palestinians take a selfie after receiving the coronavirus vaccine from an Israeli medical team at the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem. (ODED BALILTY / AP)


A total of 700 Omicron infections has been reported in the Palestinian territories in less than two months, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Kamal al-Shakhra, a spokesman for the ministry, told reporters that the rapid increase in Omicron cases "is worrying."

Noting that the coronavirus positivity rate in the West Bank rose to 30 percent, al-Shakhra said the Omicron variant "is very dangerous for those who still haven't received proper vaccinations."

The spokesman warned of another surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming days, urging the public to get vaccines as soon as possible and abide by protective measures of wearing masks and social distancing.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry said in a statement that it recorded three deaths and 642 new COVID-19 cases in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours.


The Philippines reported 37,070 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, raising the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,242,374.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases soared to an all-time high of 290,938 as the country's positivity rate dipped to 46 percent from 47.4 percent the previous day.

The DOH added 23 more people died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country's death toll to 52,929, and 12 testing laboratories failed to submit data on Monday.


Singapore reported 863 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total tally of the disease in the country to 291,849.

Of the new cases, 500 were in the community, 363 were imported cases, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

There were 675 new Omicron cases confirmed on Sunday, of whom 422 were local and 253 were imported, the ministry said.

Workers wear face masks and practice social distancing while they wait to be tested for the coronavirus in Bangkok on Jan 6, 2022. (VICHAN POTI / AP)


Thailand has reported its first death from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant, a health official said on Sunday.

The death, a 86-year-old woman from the southern province of Songkhla, came after Thailand detected its first Omicron case last month that led to the reinstatement of its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors.

"The woman is a bed-ridden, Alzheimer patient," health ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kitphati told Reuters.

Such a death was expected as the country has so far reported over 10,000 Omicron cases, he said, adding that Thailand would not need further containment measures.

Thailand reported 8,077 new infections and nine deaths on Sunday, taking the tally to more than 2.3 million cases and nearly 22,000 deaths since the pandemic started in 2020.

About 66 percent of an estimated 72 million living in the country have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccines, but about 14.9 percent have received booster shots.

Commuters, wearing protective face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, get out of a streetcar in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec 27, 2021. (FRANCISCO SECO / AP)


Turkey on Sunday reported 54,100 new COVID-19 cases, raising its total infections to 10,457,164.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 136 to 84,758, according to its health ministry.


Vietnam reported 15,684 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 15,643 locally transmitted and 41 imported, according to its health ministry.

The Vietnamese capital Hanoi remained the locality with the highest number of infections on Sunday with 2,982 cases, followed by central Da Nang city with 888 cases and central Khanh Hoa province with 680 cases.

The infections brought the country's total tally to 2,023,546 with 35,609 deaths.