People wait for international arrivals in Incheon Airport. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases fell to the 5,000s for the first time since Jan. 19, when the country reported 5,804 infections.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the country added 5,022 COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours of Sunday. The total caseload reached 18,168,708.
The decrease came largely as the number of tests conducted typically dips on the weekend then later rebounds. The extended holiday, which includes Memorial Day on Monday, also contributed to the decrease.
The country’s daily COVID-19 cases have been moving in a downward trend. The daily figure reported for Sunday was down 1,113 from 6,135 from a week ago and down 4,949 from 9,971 two weeks prior, staying below 10,000 for the third consecutive week.
Deaths from COVID-19 also continued to remain relatively low. The number of COVID-19 deaths reported reached 21, up one from a day earlier, and the fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.
The number of critically ill patients fell to 129 from the previous day’s 136, staying under 200 for 10 straight days.
Amid the weakening pandemic, the government has been introducing measures for a phased return to normal.
The government currently plans to increase the number of outpatient treatment centers where COVID-19 patients can receive face-to-face treatment while in quarantine.
The government will also make an announcement next week about the country’s mandatory seven-day quarantine for COVID-19 patients, which is scheduled to end June 20. A state-led task force is currently reviewing options to lift the quarantine mandate, according to the government.
From Wednesday, the government will no longer impose a seven-day quarantine for unvaccinated individuals from overseas. International arrivals, however, will still be required to take a polymerase chain reaction test within three days of their entry into the country. The government will also fully normalize the number of international flights starting the same day.
By Shim Woo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org