South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest number in more than two months on Monday, as the virus wave has been slowing down at a steady pace and the government has fully lifted outdoor mask mandates.
The country reported 14,168 new COVID-19 infections, including 220 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,634,296, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It is the smallest figure since July 11, when the daily figure came to 12,672. The latest count is also down from 25,792 cases logged the previous day and from 19,389 a week earlier.
The virus wave, triggered by the spread of a highly contagious omicron variant, has been on a decline after a resurgence in July that later peaked above 180,000 cases in mid-August.
On Monday, the country reported 33 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 28,246.
The number of critically ill patients came to 427, up by 11 from Sunday, the KDCA said.
In line with the waning virus trend, the government lifted all outdoor mask mandates from Monday.
Previously, those at outdoor gatherings of 50 or more people and such large-scale events as sporting events and concerts were required to wear masks, and those who violated the rules were subject to a fine.
The government said the country is "overcoming a critical moment" of a COVID-19 resurgence, and it will ease low-risk antivirus steps in phases in consultation with experts.
But rules for indoor mask wearing will be in place for the time being on possible risks of seasonal influenza and other infectious diseases, according to officials. (Yonhap)