Covid cases drop to lowest level in five months
Covid-19 cases in Korea dropped to their lowest level in five months on Monday.
The country reported 3,538 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, with all but 96 locally transmitted, raising the total caseload to 18,280,090, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) data. This marks the lowest daily tally since Jan. 11.
Daily counts tend to drop on Mondays due to fewer tests taken on the weekend, and then rise toward the middle of the week. Yet the latest tally reflected a continued downturn of Korea’s pandemic wave. The figure fell by seven percent from a week ago, and by 29.5 percent from two Mondays ago.
The number of new Covid-19 infections exceeded 5,000 for the first time last Dec. 1 when the highly transmissible Omicron variant started to spread, and crossed the 10,000-mark on Jan. 26. The figure grew to over 100,000 on Feb. 18 and hit a peak of 621,157 on March 17, which then gradually started to subside.
Of the new cases, the province of Gyeonggi posted the largest number of infections with 886, followed by 719 in Seoul, 228 in North Gyeongsang, 222 in Incheon and 194 in South Gyeongsang.
The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in severe condition went up by two from the previous day, totaling 72 as of Sunday midnight. That figure exceeded 1,200 in mid-March at the peak of the Omicron wave, but started to decline along with the receding pandemic, and has stayed in the 70s for three days in a row.
Ten more people died of the coronavirus overnight, bringing the death toll to 24,451. Among the new fatalities, four were people in their 80s, two in their 70s, one in their 60s, two in their 50s and one in their 30s.
As the nation slowly learns how to live with the virus, restrictions on face-to-face visits to nursing hospitals were eased Monday.
Nursing hospitals had been put under stricter virus prevention measures than other types of facilities in Korea, as they receive elderly people who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection and deterioration into severe illness.
People wanting to visit acquaintance in such long-term care homes needed to be vaccinated with three shots, or submit a doctor's note explaining the medical reasons for not being vaccinated. Starting Monday, these restrictions were lifted, and anyone can make a visit in person regardless of their vaccination status.
The restriction on the number of visitors, to four people at a time, was also abolished.
Visitors are still required to make reservations in advance and submit a negative Covid-19 test result.
BY SEO JI-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]