SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases fell Monday, despite increased outdoor activities during multiple holidays.
The country added 20,601 new COVID-19 infections, including 19 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 17,564,999, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The tally is down from 40,064 on Sunday and 39,600 on Saturday.
The daily count tends to fall on Mondays due to fewer tests on the weekend before rising toward the end of the week.
The public health agency reported 40 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to 23,400, the KDCA said. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.
The number of critically ill patients came to 421, little changed from 423 a day earlier.
Last week, South Korea lifted the outdoor mask mandate, except for large gatherings of 50 or more, as it is moving toward a return to normalcy.
Family and religious gatherings increased last week as Children's Day fell on Thursday, and Parents' Day and Buddha's Birthday on Sunday.
Daily infections have been on the downward trend in recent weeks after peaking at over 620,000 in mid-March amid the spreading omicron variant.