SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases dipped Wednesday, in a sign that the virus curve has yet to change its downward course that the country has seen in recent months.
The country reported 29,503 new COVID-19 infections, including 72 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 25,194,177, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Wednesday’s figure is down 3,745 from a day ago, and declined more than 1,000 from a week ago.
On Tuesday, the daily figure tripled from Monday’s and more than doubled from a week ago, and the country had seen a weekly uptick for five consecutive days, putting health authorities on high alert ahead of a possible winter surge.
The second week of October saw the total caseload decline by 7.1 percent from the previous week, the KDCA said.
The cumulative caseload for the week that ended on Oct. 15 came to 145,983, which translated into a daily average of 20,855 cases.
The number of seriously ill patients fell 22.6 percent and deaths came down 19.4 percent from the previous week.
The reproduction rate, or the number of new infections caused by each case, was 0.89, below one for eight consecutive weeks.
The country reported 43 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, raising the death toll to 28,899. The fatality rate stood at 0.11 percent. The number of critically ill patients came to 243, down four from a day earlier, the KDCA said.
South Korea’s virus curve has been on the general decline since it peaked at over 180,000 cases on Aug. 17.
In response to the pandemic’s slowdown, the government has eased antivirus restrictions, including lifting all outdoor mask mandates and the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction testing requirement for inbound travelers to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
On Wednesday, the government said it will fully resume its visa-waiver program for 91 nations, starting Nov. 1, as a reciprocal measure, after suspending it in early 2020 to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Taiwan, Japan and Macao have recently allowed South Korean nationals to enter without visas.