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S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall below 30,000 amid concerns over reinfection

People wait in line to get tested for the coronavirus at a testing center in Yongsan, central Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
People wait in line to get tested for the coronavirus at a testing center in Yongsan, central Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 30,000 Thursday, slightly down from a week ago, amid concerns over rising reinfection rates ahead of the winter flu season.

The country reported 28,648 new COVID-19 infections, including 82 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,911,497, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Thursday's count is down from 30,861 cases a week ago and more than halved from 72,620 four weeks ago, showing the virus wave has subsided since it peaked at over 180,000 cases a day in mid-August.

The South Korean government said nearly half of its 52-million population has been infected with COVID-19 at least once, with rising reinfection rates.

For the week ending on Sept. 24, the reinfection rate is estimated to be 10.92 percent, up from 9.65 percent in late August.

The KDCA reported 29 deaths from COVID-19 Thursday, raising the death toll to 28,573. The fatality rate stood at 0.11 percent.

The number of critically ill patients came in at 325, down by eight from the previous day.

Starting this month, South Korea removed the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing requirement for inbound travelers within 24 hours of arrival, in a further relaxation of pandemic restrictions. Late last month, the government lifted all outdoor mask mandates.

An indoor mask mandate, however, remains in place, amid concerns over a possible outbreak of a "twindemic" of COVID-19 and the seasonal influenza this winter. (Yonhap)

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