S. Korea's New COVID-19 Cases Below 30,000 for 2nd Day | Be Korea-savvy

S. Korea’s New COVID-19 Cases Below 30,000 for 2nd Day

A man walks past a sign asking visitors to wear masks at an indoor shopping mall in Seoul on Jan. 18, 2023. (Yonhap)

A man walks past a sign asking visitors to wear masks at an indoor shopping mall in Seoul on Jan. 18, 2023. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Korea Bizwire)South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases stayed below 30,000 for the second straight day Friday as the country prepares to lift the mask mandate for most indoor spaces.

Still, the mask mandate will remain in place at hospitals, pharmacies and public transportation, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

“Wearing masks indoors will be shifted to a ‘recommendation’ from an ‘obligation,’ beginning Jan. 30,” KDCA Commissioner Jee Young-mee said in a regular briefing.

She also strongly recommended people who have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient or a person suspected to have the virus, high-risk groups and those in crowded situations to wear masks.

In May, South Korea lifted the outdoor mask mandate in a major step toward regaining normalcy.

The latest move came amid a downward trend in new infections, a drop in critically ill cases and deaths, and strong medical response capabilities, three key criteria in lifting the indoor mask mandate, South Korea’s last remaining pandemic restriction.

“South Korea has met three out of the four criteria (in order to lift the indoor mask mandate). We believe that external risk factors are at a manageable level,” Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said at a meeting earlier in the day on COVID-19.

The government earlier said it could scrap the indoor mask mandate in phases if at least two of four criteria are met. The fourth criterion is a high vaccination rate among high-risk groups.

Jee also stressed the importance of being vaccinated, especially for high-risk groups.

On Friday, South Korea reported 27,408 new COVID-19 infections, including 94 from overseas, bringing the total to 29,955,366, KDCA said.

Friday’s tally is down by some 2,000 from a day earlier and marked the lowest for any Friday since Oct. 21, when the country reported 24,730 cases.

South Korea added 30 COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 33,134.

The number of critically ill patients stood at 453, down by 12 from the previous day.


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