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SEOUL, April 14 — South Korea’s new COVID-19 cases fell below 150,000 on Thursday, amid the continuing modest decline in infections after the worst omicron outbreak passed its peak last month.

The country reported 148,443 new COVID-19 infections, including 35 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 15,979,061, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

Excluding Mondays, when the daily counts tend to drop due to fewer tests on the weekend, the latest tally is the lowest number in about six weeks since the 138,985 recorded on March 1.

The virus curve has been on a steady decline since the March 17 peak of more than 620,000 at the height of the omicron wave.

The death toll from COVID-19 came to 20,352, up 318 from the previous day. The fatality rate stood at 0.13 percent.

The number of critically ill patients fell by 52 to 962.

The government is expected to announce adjustments in social distancing Friday in efforts toward a return to normalcy. The 10-person cap on private gatherings and the midnight business hour curfew on eateries and cafes are likely to be fully lifted.

Easing the outdoor mask mandate is also being discussed, although health authorities have remained cautious about the mask-wearing rule.

As of midnight Wednesday, 44.51 million, or 86.8 percent out of the population, had fully been vaccinated with two shots, and 32.95 million had received booster shots, representing 64.2 percent, the KDCA said.