SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest Saturday tally in 31 weeks amid a gradual downtrend as the government has taken steps to support people’s return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The country reported 14,624 new cases, including 41 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,243,393, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Saturday’s daily infections were down by about 9,000 from a week earlier.
The country added 22 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to 33,574. The number of critically ill patients came to 325, down from 339 the previous day. The tally has been on the decline, staying under 400 for five days in a row.
The health authorities said the winter wave has passed its peak, and the downtrend is expected to continue despite some fluctuation.
The new infections have been on a constant fall since Wednesday, though the government lifted the indoor mask mandate Monday, excluding at hospitals, pharmacies and public transportation.
Meanwhile, the KDCA said there were no COVID-19 cases among arrivals from China with short-term visas Saturday for the first time in about a month since South Korea started to require travelers from the neighboring country undergo a polymerase chain reaction test for the virus before and after arriving here.
On Friday, 164 short-term visitors from China got tested for COVID-19 at a testing center at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, and none tested positive, according to the KDCA.
But the KDCA said the tally may change as five of them are required to get tested again due to unclear results.
Daily virus cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.