South Korea on Tuesday reported over 8,500 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic in the country.

With 8,571 new cases, the nationwide caseload has reached 749,979, Yonhap News Agency reported.

With 23 more deaths, the total fatalities have also risen to 6,588.

Meanwhile, 392 people are in critical condition in hospitals.

The spike in cases has been caused by the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19.

On Monday, health authorities urged the public to avoid large gatherings.

The government is also expected to announce its new measures on Wednesday before the Lunar New Year holidays which will begin from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 to curb the spread of the virus, according to the report.

South Korea has so far fully vaccinated 85.4% of its 52 million population.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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