SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed below 10,000 for the third consecutive day Saturday ahead of the lifting of the mask mandate for public transportation.
The country reported 9,259 new COVID-19 infections, including 16 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 30,690,223, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The latest count is slightly up from the previous day's 9,065 and a 750 drop from 10,009 a week ago.
The KDCA reported four deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll to 34,159. The number of critically ill patients stood at 129, down by 11 from the previous day.
The government plans to lift the mask mandate on public transportation Monday, less than two months after it removed the mask requirement for most indoor places, except for public transportation, hospitals and a few other high-risk areas.
The mask mandate will remain in place for medical facilities, pharmacies and other infection-prone places. Pharmacies in open public spaces, such as discount stores and train stations, will be exempt from the requirement.