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South Korea confirmed 342,446 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

South Korea confirmed 342,446 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (Jazzmin Spain/Stars and Stripes)

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South Korea confirmed 342,446 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surging past the previous one-day pandemic record by nearly 75,600 infections, according to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The previous one-day case record, 266,850, was set Friday, according to KDCA. Wednesday’s figure broke 300,000 new cases for the first time, just a week after South Korea first topped 200,000 on March 2.

South Koreans were at the polls Wednesday picking a new president.

KCDA also reported another 158 deaths; the one-day record for fatalities related to COVID-19 in South Korea is 216, set Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Another 2,149 people were hospitalized, an increase of 433 from the previous day and 360 more than the weekly average, according to KDCA.

Gyeonggi province, which is home to Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base, accounted for nearly a third, or 29.1%, of the new infections reported Wednesday, KDCA reported. Seoul accounted for 23.2%.

U.S. Forces Korea, meanwhile, reported 139 new cases, including 18 recent arrivals, at U.S. military installations throughout South Korea between March 1 and Monday, according to an update on the command’s website. For the prior week, USFK reported 164 new cases, including 28 new arrivals.

Military cases down in Japan

In Japan, the U.S. military reported 73 new cases across 13 installations on Tuesday, according to a daily update by U.S. Forces Japan. The command last reported 98 new cases Monday.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, south of Hiroshima, reported 21 positive tests for COVID-19 in the most recent USFJ update, followed by 17 at Yokosuka Naval Base, home of the U.S. 7th Fleet south of Tokyo. Naval Air Facility Atsugi, 25 miles southwest of Tokyo, reported 10.

COVID-19 continued its week-to-week decline in Tokyo, where the city confirmed 10,283 new infections Wednesday, 2,410 fewer than a week prior, according to public broadcaster NHK and metropolitan government data.

Okinawa prefecture, where Kadena Air Base and most of the III Marine Expeditionary Force are located, said another 783 people tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday, along with 16 people in the U.S. military population, according to the prefectural Department of Public Health and Medical Care.

Japan reported 53,938 new infections and 249 deaths on Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Stars and Stripes reporter Mari Higa contributed to this report.

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Joseph Ditzler is a Marine Corps veteran and the Pacific editor for Stars and Stripes. He’s a native of Pennsylvania and has written for newspapers and websites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. He studied journalism at Penn State and international relations at the University of Oklahoma.
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