S. Korea likely to downgrade COVID-19 on par with seasonal flu this month

South Korea is likely to downgrade the infection level of COVID-19 to the lowest category on par with seasonal flu this month, health officials said Sunday, in a step to lift all antivirus curbs and fully return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Currently, the infection level of COVID-19 in South Korea is categorized as Class 2, on par with chickenpox or measles. If the level is lowered to Class 4, or the lowest level, the virus will be on par with the seasonal flu.

Health authorities plan to hold a meeting on Monday, and they are expected to announce the planned downgrade of the COVID-19 infection level on Wednesday, officials said.

But the exact timing of when the adjustments would take effect could change depending on what the government and experts decide to do in terms of protection of high-risk patients and medical support for infected patients, officials said.

From Aug. 6 to 12, South Korea reported 349,279 new infections, up by 0.8 percent from the previous week. The rate of increase has slowed down since the third week of July. The fatality rate has also remained low at 0.03 percent, KDCA data showed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency