S. Korea’s new Covid-19 cases in 20k for 2nd day amid receding Omicron wave

South Korea’s new Covid-19 cases stayed in the 20,000s for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, down nearly 7,400 cases from a week ago, as the Covid-19 pandemic is in retreat.

The country added 23,956 new infections, including 21 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 18,017,923, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The daily tally fell to a 16-week low for a Wednesday and declined 23.5 per cent from a week earlier, in an apparent sign of the pandemic slowing down, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea’s daily caseload peaked at more than 621,000 on March 17, driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant nationwide.

The country added 23 deaths from Covid-19, taking the total to 24,029. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 per cent. The number of critically-ill patients stood at 237, the KDCA added.

South Korea started this week to allow international travellers to submit supervised rapid antigen test results, issued within 24 hours prior to their departure date, alongside PCR test results.

Amid decreasing Covid-19 cases, South Korea rolled back most of its virus restrictions in April, except for the seven-day self-isolation for Covid-19 patients. The mandate remains in effect until June 20.

Of the locally transmitted cases, Seoul accounted for 3,586 cases, with its surrounding Gyeonggi province reporting 5,258 cases. There were also 998 additional patients from Incheon, 40 kilometers west of the capital city.

As of Tuesday midnight, 44.57 million or 86.9 per cent of the population had completed the full two-dose vaccinations, and 33.27 million, representing 64.8 per cent, had received their first booster shots. More than 3.89 million people had received their second booster shots, the KDCA said.

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