(LEAD) S. Korea reports first omicron-linked deaths

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with new details)

GWANGJU, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Monday reported its first deaths linked to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A 98-year-old patient at a senior care hospital in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, was posthumously tested positive for omicron last Thursday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

She was confirmed on Dec. 26 to have the coronavirus and died the following day.

A total of 21 people at the hospital were confirmed to have the highly transmissible variant.

Another female patient, 90, at the hospital, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 25 and died last Wednesday, is also suspected to have been infected with omicron, the KDCA said. The test result for the variant has yet to come out.

The two women suffered from cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and dementia, according to officials.

The first omicron case in the nation was confirmed on Dec. 1.

On Monday, the KDCA reported 111 more omicron infections, bringing the total to 1,318. Among them, 101 cases came from overseas and 10 were locally transmitted.

The country added 3,129 new COVID-19 infections on the day, raising the total caseload to 642,207.




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