South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed in the 13,000 range Wednesday, a similar level from a week ago, as the government unveiled plans to shorten the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period in efforts to restore pre-pandemic normalcy.
The country reported 13,134 new COVID-19 infections, including 15 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,798,723, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.
Wednesday's figure is up from the previous day's 12,129 cases, and held almost steady from the 13,076 reported seven days ago, reflecting a stable virus curve.
The country added 14 more COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 34,245.
The number of critically ill patients came to 150, almost unchanged from the previous day's 151.
In yet another step toward the relaxation of COVID-19 rules, the government announced a road map to cut the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period by early May.
The seven-day isolation will be reduced to five when the infection disease level for COVID-19 is downgraded to an "alert" level from the current "serious" level in the national classification.
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said in a briefing that the government will make a decision on whether to lower the level for COVID-19 in early May.
South Korea has removed most of the COVID-19 restrictions, except for the mask-wearing mandate in high-risk places like hospitals and pharmacies.
Last week, the mask mandate on public transportation was lifted, about two months after the removal of mask-wearing rules for most indoor spaces, in a major step toward the return to pre-pandemic normalcy. (Yonhap)