South Korea's new COVID-19 cases hit around 35,000 on Wednesday, a rebound from the previous day but down by more than 1,000 from a week ago, with a rise in reinfections adding to concerns ahead of the winter season.
The country reported 34,739 new COVID-19 infections, including 69 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,882,894, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Wednesday's count is up from 16,423 reported the previous day, but it's a drop from 36,139 tallied a week earlier, reflecting a steady downtrend in the virus wave that peaked at over 180,000 cases a day in mid-August.
South Korea is on track to see half of its 52-million population having been infected with COVID-19 at least once, as the ratio now stands at 48 percent, the government said. The reinfection rate is rising as well to have come in at 10.92 percent in the third week of September from 9.65 percent in late August.
The KDCA added 16 deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, raising the death toll to 28,544.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 333, down by 20 from the previous day.
South Korea has removed the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing requirement for inbound travelers on the first day of arrival, in a further relaxation of antivirus restrictions amid pre-pandemic recovery efforts. All outdoor mask mandates have been lifted.
Indoor mask wearing rules remain in place, as health authorities caution against a possible outbreak of a "twindemic" of COVID-19 and the seasonal influenza this winter. (Yonhap)