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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases post on-week decline

March 30, 2023 - 10:13 By Yonhap
This photo shows a COVID-19 testing center at Passenger Terminal 1 in Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to South Korea, west of Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea reported just over 11,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, a mild drop from a week earlier, as the country is adapting to the idea of the virus becoming endemic and is making efforts toward returning to normalcy.

The country reported 11,039 new COVID-19 infections, including 14 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,809,762, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Thursday's tally is down from the previous day's 13,134 and a decline of 350 from seven days earlier, keeping a steady trend in the virus curve.

The country added 10 more COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 34,255.

The number of critically ill patients came to 143, down from the previous day's 150.

South Korea is on track to redefine the COVID-19 disease as endemic.

The government unveiled plans Wednesday on how it will carry out the transition, including a road map to cut and eventually remove the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period.

The plans will proceed upon the downgrade of the national crisis level and infection classification level for COVID-19, which will have to coincide with similar decisions by the World Health Organization and the United States.

Health authorities expect the reduction of the isolation period to be put into practice in early May.

South Korea has removed most of the COVID-19 restrictions, except for the mask-wearing mandate in high-risk places, like hospitals and pharmacies.

Last week, the mask mandate on public transportation was lifted, about two months after the removal of mask-wearing rules for most indoor spaces. (Yonhap)