(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases fall to around 4,200 amid overall downtrend
(ATTN: ADDS more details, comments in last 3 paras)
SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell to around 4,200 on Monday amid the overall downturn of the infections, as the government is mulling further easing antivirus restrictions.
The country reported 4,198 new coronavirus cases, including 12 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,638,929, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
It marked a decline from 9,342 cases reported Sunday and also a fall from the previous week's 4,295 cases.
The country reported 12 deaths from COVID-19, putting the death toll at 34,115.
The number of critically ill patients came to 142, down from 146 a day earlier, the KDCA said.
The country has managed the virus situation in a stable manner despite a sporadic growth in infection numbers following the removal of the indoor mask mandate in January, KDCA officials said.
The mandate is still in place at hospitals, pharmacies and public transportation, and the government plans to announce around Wednesday whether and when the regulation will be lifted for public transportation, they added.
Jung Ki-suck, chair of the government advisory committee for COVID-19, told a press briefing on Monday that the possible adjustment of the mask-wearing rules would "unlikely pose major challenges" to the country's virus responses, citing opinions from health experts.
But he stressed the need for high-risk groups to wear face masks in public places and called on doctors to expand the use of oral treatment pills to better protect risk-prone groups.
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