S. Korea’s COVID-19 cases down to lowest Mon. tally in 12 weeks

SEOUL– South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest Monday tally in 12 weeks, as the government continues to make efforts to contain the inflow from China.

The country reported 14,144 new COVID-19 infections, including 64 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 29,821,035, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Daily caseloads on Mondays tend to be lower than other days of the week due to fewer tests over the weekend.

The tally is down by around 5,000 from a week earlier and marked the lowest for any Monday since Oct. 24, when the country reported 14,296 cases

Of the imported cases, 41 cases, or 64 percent, were from China, the KDCA said.

South Korea added 35 deaths, bringing the death toll to 32,984. The number of critically ill patients stood at 510, up from the previous day’s 499.

The South Korean government has been closely watching overseas visitors amid the recent surge in infections in China following Beijing’s lifting of its zero-COVID-19 policy in December.

Earlier this month, South Korea began requiring arrivals from China to present a negative PCR or antigen test for the coronavirus before boarding and undergo a post-entry PCR test in a move to slow the overseas inflow of the virus.

Travelers from Hong Kong and Macao also have to show a negative pre-entry virus test.

In a regular briefing held earlier in the day, Jung Ki-suck, chair of the government advisory committee for COVID-19, said South Korea’s infection trend has shown “significant” signs of subsiding.

South Korea’s COVID-19 infections over the past seven days had declined 27 percent from a week earlier, Jung said. The weekly death toll and the number of critically ill patients also dropped 11 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from the previous week.

Jung said South Korea is “not too far” from lifting the indoor mask mandate, as he expects the country’s infection trend to maintain the status quo even after the mask-free policy is implemented.

The advisory committee is set to discuss on Tuesday the detailed adjustments to the country’s indoor mask mandate, the last remaining antivirus rule after the government lifted tough social distancing, such as business hour curfews and private gathering limits.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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