South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest Wednesday tally in 13 weeks, showing signs the infection trend may be subsiding, as the country prepares to lift the indoor mask mandate.
The country reported 36,908 new COVID-19 infections, including 80 from overseas, bringing the total to 29,898,142, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Wednesday's tally is down by some 3,000 from a day earlier and nearly 17,500 from the previous week, KDCA data showed. It's also the lowest Wednesday tally since Oct. 19, when the country reported 29,492 cases.
South Korea added 43 COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 33,057.
The number of critically ill patients stood at 490, down by 13 from the previous day.
Meanwhile, health authorities are scheduled to announce the timing of the lifting of the indoor mask mandate Friday, just before the Lunar New Year holiday.
The government has said earlier it could scrap the mask mandate in phases if at least two of four criteria are met. Those criteria include a downward trend in new infections, and critically ill cases and deaths, as well as strong medical response capabilities and a high vaccination rate among high-risk groups.
The indoor mask mandate has been the last remaining antivirus restriction in South Korea, after the government eased tough social distancing, such as business curfews and gathering bans. (Yonhap)