Seoul (South Korea), May 13: South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed below the 40,000s for the second straight day Friday, amid the government's continued effort to move the country back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
The country added 32,451 new COVID-19 infections, including 15 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,727,086, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The tally declined from 35,906 on Thursday and is up from 26,701 a week ago.
The public health agency reported 52 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 23,606, the KDCA said.
The number of critically ill patients came to 347, down seven from a day earlier.
The KDCA has urged those aged 60 and older to receive second booster shots to try to reduce deaths and prevent them from becoming critically ill patients.
South Korea's new daily infections have been on a downward trend in recent weeks after peaking at over 620,000 on March 17 amid the spread of the omicron variant.
The government eased the outdoor mask mandate on May 2, except for large gatherings of 50 or more, as it is moving toward a return to normalcy. The indoor mask mandate remains in effect.