SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest Friday tally in 11 weeks in the latest sign of a downward trend ahead of the planned lifting of all outdoor mask mandates next week.
The country reported 29,108 new COVID-19 infections, including 303 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 24,565,021, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The new daily figure is the lowest of all Friday tallies since cases dropped to 19,295 on July 8.
The daily caseload decreased from 33,009 the previous day and 51,855 a week ago.
New deaths from COVID-19 increased by nine to 68, putting the death toll at 28,077. The fatality rate was 0.11 percent.
The number of critically ill patients came to 399, down 29 from a day earlier.
The sixth and latest wave of the omicron variant took on the peninsular country in early July and peaked slightly over 180,000 cases in mid-August.
Health authorities believe the virus' sixth resurgence seems to have peaked out for a steady decline, with a faster decrease in the number of new cases and deaths compared to the fifth wave.
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said that the lifting of the mask wearing requirement for large outdoor gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, will take effect next Monday, citing the country is "clearly overcoming" a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
In May, the government lifted the outdoor mask mandate for individuals but kept the mask rule for large outdoor group gatherings, such as sporting and concert events, and outdoor rallies.
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