South Korea scrambles to build container hospital beds to combat third COVID-19 wave

South Korea scrambles to build container hospital beds to combat third COVID-19 wave

Medics wearing protective gear carry a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus to hospital in Seoul
Medics wearing protective gear carry a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus to hospital in Seoul AFP/-

SEOUL: South Korean authorities scrambled on Thursday (Dec 10) to build shipping container hospital beds to alleviate medical facilities stretched by the latest coronavirus wave, which shows little sign of abating with 682 new cases.

The resurgence of infections has rekindled concerns about an acute shortage of hospital beds, prompting Seoul city to begin installing container beds for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

READ: South Korea to boost testing as COVID-19 surge threatens 'medical collapse'

Health authorities plan to step up testing by launching temporary sites at about 150 locations across the greater Seoul area.

"We're making all-out efforts to stop the spread in the Seoul metropolitan area by mobilising all available resources," Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a meeting.

"Above all, we will secure sufficient treatment centres and hospital beds for critical cases so that they can receive proper treatment in a timely manner."

READ: South Korea to buy millions of vaccine doses as COVID-19 cases surge

Thursday's 682 new infections came a day after the daily tally hit 686, the second-highest since the country's first case was confirmed in January, even as tougher social distancing rules took effect this week, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

New cases have been persistently around 600 over the past week, driven by smaller, harder-to-trace clusters around the densely populated capital city of Seoul, whereas the early two waves were centred on a handful of groups or regions.

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Source: Reuters

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