SEOUL, June 13 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new coronavirus cases fell to their lowest tally in five months Monday as the country is working to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The country added 3,828 COVID-19 infections, including 60 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 18,229,288, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Monday’s count is the lowest since the 3,094 reported on Jan. 11.
Daily infections have shown a downward trend after posting an all-time high of over 620,000 in mid-March.
The number of deaths came to 17, bringing the death toll to 24,388. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 95, down three from the previous day, the KDCA said.
As of 9 p.m. Monday, the country had reported 9,155 new infections, about 2.55 times higher than 3,577 counted at the same time the previous day, according to tentative data by the Seoul city and other regional governments.
Daily infection cases are counted and announced the following morning.
Health authorities said they will consider measures that will allow people to take enough time off from work and rest if they are infected with COVID-19, even if they decide to end the current seven-day self-isolation mandate for infected patients.
Health officials have extended the COVID-19 quarantine rule for another four weeks, citing the continued omicron wave, though at a slower pace, and risks of yet another virus resurgence.
Sohn Young-rae, a senior health ministry official, said the government is considering shortening the self-isolation requirement to five days.
“We’re reviewing (it) based on various opinions and gathering the views of various experts,” Sohn said in a background briefing.
The government will decide on the next phase of the COVID-19 related rules this Friday.
South Korea has removed most of the virus curbs, including the cap on the number of private gatherings and business hour curfews, amid the declining virus trend.
Of the 3,768 locally transmitted cases, Seoul accounted for 659 cases, with surrounding Gyeonggi Province reporting 1,021 cases. There were 104 infections in Incheon.
As of Monday, 44.61 million, or 86.9 percent of the population, had completed the full two-dose vaccinations, and 33.34 million had received their first booster shots.
More than 4.26 million people, or 8.3 percent of the population, had gotten their second booster shots, the KDCA said.