Health Ministry data released on Thursday indicated that the Omicron-driven coronavirus infection wave was continuing to ebb.
The number of serious patients persisted in the gradual decline seen over the past few days, standing at 1,123. Sunday saw the highest number of serious cases since the onset of the pandemic, 1,263. Of those in serious condition, 274 were on ventilators.
In total, 2,525 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, of whom 344 were in critical condition, according to ministry data.
The ministry said serious cases were much more common for the unvaccinated: Among patients 60 and up who were unvaccinated, there were 388.5 serious cases per 100,000 people, compared with only 31.4 for their vaccinated peers.
There were 36,835 new coronavirus cases diagnosed on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 324,802.
With 146,599 tests conducted on Wednesday, the test positivity rate stood at 25.13 percent, a slight increase on a day earlier but still lower than Saturday, when the country saw its highest positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic, 28.79%.
The transmission rate (measuring the average number of people each infected person spreads the virus to) continued to fall, reaching a value of 0.77 — its lowest figure since October.
The transmission rate is based on data from 10 days earlier and any value below 1 shows that the pandemic is shrinking. In December the value shot up to 2.12, but has since been on the decline.
The death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at 9,370, with 14 fatalities on Wednesday. According to ministry data, 293 people died from COVID-19 in the past week.
An unnamed senior Health Ministry official quoted by the Kan public broadcaster said Wednesday that while the wave of infection, the country’s fifth, was declining, it would likely take several weeks to recede.
Another unnamed senior official quoted by Kan warned that the current wave may not be the last and that the country should be prepared for a possible sixth, as a more lethal mutation of coronavirus is not out of the question.