South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed below 20,000 for the second consecutive day Saturday.
The country reported 18,663 new infections, bringing the total caseload to 31,766,502, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Daily infections remained below 20,000 for the six days through Tuesday but rose above 20,000 on Wednesday and Thursday. They then fell back below the mark Friday.
Saturday's tally is higher than the 17,796 cases a week earlier but lower than the 19,724 cases the previous day.
The country reported nine COVID-19 deaths, raising the death toll to 34,824. The number of critically ill patients came to 138, down from 155 the previous day, the KDCA said.
On Thursday, the country's mask mandate was scaled back, and is now only in effect at hospitals with inpatient rooms and residential-type high-risk facilities.
The mandatory isolation period was also reduced to five days as a recommendation from the previous seven-day requirement.
The health agency will also begin releasing COVID-19 infection data on a weekly basis next week.
Source: Yonhap News Agency