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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall for second day

March 31, 2023 - 10:11 By Yonhap
A person sits at a COVID-19 testing center in Terminal 1 in Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to South Korea, west of Seoul, on March Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell for two straight days to around 10,000 on Friday, keeping the numbers steady compared with a week ago, as people began to come to terms with treating the virus as endemic.

The country reported 10,368 new COVID-19 infections, including 18 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,820,130, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

Friday's count is down from the previous day's 11,039 and Thursday's 13,134. The figure is almost on par with the 10,283 logged last Friday.

The country added 10 more COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 34,265.

The number of critically ill patients came to 139, down from the previous day's 143.

The steady virus trend came as South Korea is preparing for the next post-pandemic phase, in which it will treat the disease as endemic and further remove antivirus restrictions in efforts toward returning to normalcy.

Health authorities said they plan to shorten the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period to five days from the current seven. The new measure is likely to come into force in early May.

Last week, South Korea lifted the mask mandate on public transportation. Still, the mask mandate remains in place for medical facilities, pharmacies and other infection-prone places. (Yonhap)