South Korea said Thursday its daily tally of new coronavirus cases has topped 50,000 for the first time amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant nationwide.

The country reported a total of 54,122 COVID-19 infections over a 24-hour period, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, surpassing the previous record high of 49,567 logged Wednesday.

The health authorities have warned that the daily tally could reach 170,000 by around the end of February.

The proportion of the population who have received full doses of a coronavirus vaccine stood at 86.1 percent as of Thursday, while 56 percent were inoculated with booster shots, the KDCA said.

People wearing face masks walk in Seoul on Jan. 26, 2022, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo