SEOUL, March 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korea reported a record daily high of 266,853 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Thursday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 3,958,326, the health authorities said Friday.
The daily caseload was sharply up from 198,803 in the previous day, surpassing the previous high of 219,241 tallied two days ago, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The recent rise was driven by infections in the Seoul metropolitan area amid the Omicron variant spread.
Of the new cases, 59,269 were Seoul residents. The number of newly infected people living in Gyeonggi province and the western port city of Incheon was 76,722 and 16,681, respectively.
The virus spread also raged in the non-metropolitan region. The number of new infections in the non-capital areas was 114,099, or 42.8 per cent of the total local transmission.
Among the new cases, 82 were imported from overseas, lifting the total to 29,579.
The number of infected people who were in a serious condition stood at 797, up 31 from the previous day.
A total of 186 more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 8,580. The total fatality rate was 0.22 per cent.
The country has administered COVID-19 vaccines to 44,866,070 people, or 87.4 per cent of the total population, and the number of fully inoculated people was 44,380,062, or 86.5 per cent of the population.
The number of those who received booster jabs was 31,642,215 people or 61.7 per cent of the population.