S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases under 20,000 for 3rd day amid holiday

South Korea reported 12,262 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, staying below 20,000 for the third consecutive day, health authorities said, due to fewer testing over the Lunar New Year holiday.

The new cases, including 31 from overseas, brought the total caseload to 30,021,018, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

It marked a slight rise from 9,227 cases reported on the previous day, although it fell around 28,000 from a week earlier.

South Korea, with a population of 51.6 million, saw its accumulated number of COVID-19 cases reach 30 million on the previous day, three years after its first infection was reported on Jan. 20, 2020.

This year's extended four-day Lunar New Year holiday was the first of its kind without social-distancing restrictions since the pandemic outbreak.

The country added 10 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to 33,245. The number of critically ill patients came to 468, slightly up from 450 the previous day, the KDCA said.

Last week, the government said it will lift a mask mandate for most public indoor spaces, including schools, on Jan. 30, but people will still be required to wear masks on public transportation and in medical facilities.

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

Source: Yonhap News Agency