The recovery rate of patients infected with the new coronavirus topped 40 percent, data showed Wednesday.
Since its first outbreak on Jan. 20, the country has reported a total of 9,137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, with 3,730 of them, or 40.8 percent, being fully recovered and released from quarantine, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The recovery rate came to 3.71 percent on March 11 but increased to 10.21 percent on March 15, 20 percent on Thursday and 32.7 percent on Sunday, the KCDC said.
Health authorities expect at least hundreds of patients to be fully recovered and released from quarantine every day over the next few weeks as most of the country's confirmed cases, which occurred a month ago, have recently reached their recovery period.
They said 80 percent of the COVID-19 patients suffer from mild symptoms and do not require intensive treatment.
While the recovery rate is continuing to rise, the mortality rate of patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus here stood at 1.38 percent as of Tuesday, according to the KCDC.
The COVID-19 mortality rate was around 0.6 percent in early March and gradually increased to 0.8 percent in mid-March before breaching 1 percent this week, the KCDC said.
The country's COVID-19 fatality rate is lower than the average 4.9 percent mortality rate tallied by the World Health Organization and Italy's fatality rate of more than 9 percent.
KCDC data also showed that the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients aged 80 or older was 13.55 percent, the highest among all age brackets.
Health authorities cite the importance of curing elderly with underlying diseases.
"The mortality rate of serious COVID-19 patients is about 50 percent," said Kim Woo-ju, an infectious disease specialist at Seoul's Korea University Hospital, adding that efforts should be focused on those people.
Early this week, a 93-year-old South Korean woman infected with the novel coronavirus fully recovered and was released from quarantine. (Yonhap)