SEOUL-- South Korea reported fewer than 80,000 daily new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as most of the country's virus restrictions are lifted amid the slowdown of the omicron wave.
The country added 76,787 new COVID-19 infections, including 37 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,086,626, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Wednesday's tally is slightly down from 80,361 cases reported Tuesday. Daily counts tend to fall on Mondays due to fewer tests on the weekend before rising toward the end of the week.
Health authorities and local governments had reported 56,015 new cases as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, down 19,308 from the same time the previous day. Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.
The omicron wave has been on the decline after the country's daily infections reached the peak of 621,178 cases on March 17.
The death toll from COVID-19 came to 22,466, up 141 from the previous day.
The number of critically ill patients came to 546, down 67 from a day earlier. It marks the first time in 62 days that the tally came under the 600 mark.
To reflect the weakening pandemic, health authorities downgraded COVID-19 to the second-highest level of the four-tier infectious disease control system on Monday.
Of the locally transmitted infections, Seoul reported 11,517 cases and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 18,415 cases, the KDCA said.
As of midnight Tuesday, 44.54 million, or 86.8 percent of the 52 million population, had been fully vaccinated, and 33.08 million, or 64.5 percent, had received their first COVID-19 booster shots, the KDCA said.
A total of 1.25 million people, or 2.4 percent of the population, have received second booster shots across the country.
The transition committee of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said the government will bring in additional COVID-19 treatment for 1.06 million people to prepare for the upcoming winter season.
The plan is part of a 100-day road map to cope with the pandemic.
The committee also said it will expand medical fee assistance and compensation for treatment of post-vaccination side effects.
The government plans to offer up to 50 million won (US$39,600) in medical fee assistance, up from 30 million won, the committee said, while providing up to 100 million won, up from 50 million won, in compensation to families of those who died following an inoculation.
The committee also plans to provide 10 million won in compensation to families of those who suddenly die after a certain period of inoculation.
Source: Yonhap News Agency