SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases stayed below 30,000 for the fifth consecutive day Sunday, but the daily count recorded a sharp hike from the previous week amid rising concerns over a resurgence in infections nationwide in the winter.
The country reported 26,256 new COVID-19 infections, including 67 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 25,297,334, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It marks a slight fall from the previous day’s 26,906 new cases, but 4,800 cases more than logged a week earlier. The comparable figure two weeks ago was 17,646.
The country has seen a gradual decrease in the new virus wave since mid-August, but the pace of its decline has slowed down in recent days. The health authorities have warned of another wave in around December.
The country reported 16 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, raising the death toll to 28,990. The fatality rate stood at 0.11 percent.
The number of critically ill patients came to 212, up 16 from a day earlier, the KDCA said.
In line with the waning virus situation, the government has eased antivirus restrictions. All outdoor mask mandates were lifted, and inbound travelers are no longer required to submit polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results.
Starting next month, the government will fully resume its visa-waiver program for 91 nations, including Japan, Taiwan and Macao, which has been suspended in early 2020 to curb the spread of the new coronavirus
But the government decided to keep indoor mask wearing rules in place, and has moved to strengthen measures to better protect vulnerable groups, particularly on a possible outbreak of a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza this winter.