South Korea’s new Covid-19 cases fell on Thursday after staying above 40,000 for two days amid the government’s efforts to move the country back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The country added 35,906 new Covid-19 infections, including 12 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,694,677, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The tally decreased from 43,925 on Wednesday and was down from 42,289 a week ago, Yonhap news agency reported.
The public health agency reported 63 Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total to 23,554, the KDCA said.
The number of critically-ill patients came to 354, down by 29 on Wednesday.
South Korea’s new daily infections have been on a downward trend in recent weeks after peaking at more than 6,20,000 on March 17 amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
The government eased the outdoor mask mandate on May 2, except for large gatherings of 50 or more, as it is moving toward a return to normalcy. The indoor mask mandate remains in effect.
Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul on Thursday reported 5,695 new Covid-19 cases and Gyeonggi province surrounding the state capital identified 8,392 cases.
As of Wednesday midnight, 44.56 million people or 86.8 per cent of the 52 million population had been fully vaccinated, according to the KDCA data.
A total of 33.2 million people had received their first booster shots, representing 64.7 per cent and 3.19 million people or 6.2 per cent had received their second booster shots.
The South Korean government is pushing second booster shots for those aged 60 years and above to try to reduce deaths and prevent them from becoming critically-ill patients.
As of Wednesday midnight, 26 per cent of those aged 60 years and above had received their second booster shots.