South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to the 80,000 range Thursday amid a moderate declining trend, though a sharp rise in the death toll called for a continued close watch over serious cases.
The country reported 81,573 new COVID-19 infections, including 300 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 23,327,897, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The latest tally is down from Wednesday's 103,503 and 113,371 counted a week ago, marking a gradual slowdown of the virus wave in line with health authorities' prediction. South Korea has seen a virus resurgence since late July with the daily cases rebounding to the six digits.
The newly reported deaths came to 112, the highest since April 29, putting the death toll at 26,876, the KDCA said. The fatality rate remained at 0.12 percent.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 555, down 14 from the previous day.
South Korea is set to lift the pre-travel COVID-19 test requirement for inbound travelers starting Saturday amid the easing virus wave. A mandatory PCR test within the first 24 hours of entry into South Korea will remain in place. (Yonhap)