SEOUL, April 28 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s daily new coronavirus cases went down to fewer than 60,000 on Thursday as most of the country’s virus restrictions have been lifted amid the slowdown of the omicron wave.
The country added 57,464 new COVID-19 infections, including 21 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,144,065, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Thursday’s tally is slightly down from 76,787 cases reported Wednesday and sharply down from 90,867 a week earlier, the KDCA said.
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 22,588, up 122 from the previous day.
The number of critically ill patients came to 552, up six from a day earlier. It marks the second day in a row that the tally came under the 600 mark.
Health authorities and local governments had reported 49,565 new cases as of 9 p.m. Thursday, down 6,450 from the same time the previous day. It is the first time in 11 weeks that the 9 p.m. tally fell below the 50,000 mark.
Daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.
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 9,109 cases and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province added 13,657cases, the KDCA said.
As of midnight Wednesday, 44.54 million, or 86.8 percent of the 52 million population, had been fully vaccinated, and 33.09 million, or 64.5 percent, had received their first COVID-19 booster shot, the KDCA said.
A total of 1.47 million people, or 2.9 percent of the population, have received second booster shots across the country.