S. Korea’s new COVID-19 cases under 40,000 for 3rd day amid eased virus curbs

SEOUL– South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases stayed below 40,000 for the third straight day Thursday as the virus wave has been gradually slowing down.

The county reported 30,881 new COVID-19 infections, including 252 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,740,635, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

It marks a sharp decline from the previous day’s 36,159.

The virus wave has been on a decline after a resurgence in July that later peaked above 180,000 cases in mid-August.

The country reported 46 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, raising the death toll to 28,364.

The number of critically ill patients came to 363, down by 12 from a day earlier, the KDCA said.

As of 9 p.m. Thursday, the country had reported 27,632 additional cases, down 2,458 from the same time the previous day, and down 635 from a week ago, according to health authorities and provincial governments. Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.

While the virus wave shows signs of subsiding, health officials urged high risk groups and people in high-risk facilities to receive booster shots to prevent risks of a possible “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the seasonal influenza.

As of Thursday, a total of 5 million doses of Moderna booster shots against the omicron variant have been delivered to South Korea, the KDCA said.

Meanwhile, the government decided Wednesday to reduce the number of hospital beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in phases.

Currently, some 7,400 beds are set aside for COVID-19 patients, and some 20 percent of them are occupied. Of the total, 1,477 will be used for other general patients by Oct. 7, according to the KDCA.

All outdoor mask mandates have been lifted since Monday, as the government plans to ease virus prevention measures to better support people’s everyday lives.

Rules for indoor mask wearing will remain in place for the time being on possible risks of seasonal influenza and other infectious diseases, according to officials.

Source: Yonhap News Agency