On Saturday, South Korea had its most lethal day of the pandemic, with 112 deaths reported in the most recent 24-hour period as the country battles a surge of coronavirus infections brought on by the fast-moving omicron strain.

More than a 37-fold spike in daily cases from mid-January, when omicron initially appeared as the country’s leading strain, health workers recorded 166,209 new cases on Thursday, which was close to Wednesday’s one-day high of 171,451.

There has been less evidence of major sickness or death caused by Omicron than the delta strain that ravaged this nation in late December and early January. Hospitalizations and fatalities are starting to rise as a result of a spreading epidemic that is putting a strain on already stretched health and public personnel.

According to the authorities, there are now more than 640 virus patients in severe or critical condition, up from 200-300 in the middle of February. Almost half of the country’s critical care facilities allocated for COVID-19 patients are filled, according to the Health Ministry.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has said that the omicron wave is expected to peak in mid-March, when the nation may witness daily instances of almost 250,000. Schools starting new semesters in March, as well as political events leading up to the March 9 presidential election, raise fears that transmissions may intensify.

There are more than 51 million people in the country, and 86 percent of them have had a complete vaccination. In order to safeguard residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities against an omicron outbreak, the government has begun administering fourth immunization doses. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 was authorized by the FDA on Wednesday and will be made available in March for that age range.