South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest Thursday tally in 13 weeks, in a sign that the country is past the peak of the latest winter COVID-19 wave.
The country reported 29,816 new COVID-19 infections, including 63 from overseas, bringing the total to 29,927,958, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. Among the imported cases, 36 cases, or 57.1 percent, were from China.
Thursday's tally is down by nearly 14,000 from the previous week and almost half the daily caseload reported two weeks ago, KDCA data showed. It is also the lowest Thursday tally since Oct. 20, when the country reported 25,375 cases.
South Korea added 47 COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 33,104.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 465, down by 25 from the previous day.
Health authorities are scheduled to decide when and to what extent the indoor mask mandate will be adjusted Friday, just before the Lunar New Year holiday.
The government said earlier it could scrap the mask mandate in phases if at least two of four criteria are met. Those criteria include a downward trend in new infections, and critically ill cases and deaths, as well as strong medical response capabilities and a high vaccination rate among high-risk groups.
The mask mandate is the last remaining pandemic restriction in South Korea. (Yonhap)