On Monday, government data revealed that South Korea’s new coronavirus cases decreased last week, putting a stop to seven straight weeks of increases, which provided health authorities with the opportunity to resume their plans to lift all virus-related restrictions.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported an average of 41,000 fresh infections for the third week of August, representing a 16.4 percent decrease from the previous week.
The number of cases had been increasing since the fourth week of June.
“The summer wave has entered a downward trend after a seven-week surge, and the epidemic is slowing,” said a KDCA official.
Given the drop in daily coronavirus cases, the KDCA is thinking about announcing its strategy for completely returning to pre-pandemic life later this week. It involves steps to reduce the disease level of COVID-19 by two levels and remove all mask requirements at hospitals and care homes as part of its efforts to fully transition to a normal state for the medical system.
The plan, which was originally scheduled to be released in early August, was postponed for weeks due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
A medical worker takes a sample from a citizen at a makeshift COVID-19 testing station in Seoul on Aug. 20, 2023. (Yonhap)