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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 February 04, 2020

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday.

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(5th LD) S. Korean tests positive for virus after Bangkok trip, total now at 16

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday confirmed its 16th case of the novel coronavirus infection, with the latest patient having recently visited Thailand, as more stringent quarantine measures are being taken to stem the spread of the virus.

The patient, a 42-year-old South Korean woman, returned from a trip to Thailand on Jan. 19 and started feeling chills on Jan. 25, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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(LEAD) Passengers from China undergo strict quarantine screening under entry ban

SEOUL/YEONGJONGDO, South Korea -- With the entry ban taking effect Tuesday for non-Korean travelers coming from or through China's Hubei province, tensions are running high at Incheon International Airport, the gateway to Seoul, where an army of hundreds of customs and health officials are mobilized at the airport's three "China-only" arrival counters to detect passengers with suspected symptoms of the new coronavirus.

The unprecedented entry ban, announced Sunday by the South Korean government, applies to all foreign travelers who over the past 14 days have stayed in or traveled to the central Chinese province, the home to Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated late last year.

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S. Korea set to approve tougher penalties against hoarding of protective masks

SEJONG -- South Korea is set to approve tougher penalties Tuesday against those who engage in hoarding of protective masks, as China's coronavirus outbreak has sparked a sharp rise in demand for such masks, officials said.

Under the tougher penalties, a person who engages in hoarding of protective masks will face a prison sentence of a maximum two years or a maximum fine of 50 million won (US$42,108), the Ministry of Economy and Finance said in a statement.

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S. Korea delivers 1.5 mln masks to virus-hit Wuhan: ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea has delivered 1.5 million masks and other relief items to the virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, as part of a provision of such goods to help Beijing cope with the disease.

An Asiana Airlines cargo flight, carrying the masks and more than 120,000 items of protective clothing and goggles, left for Wuhan on Monday and returned early Tuesday, the ministry said.

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(LEAD) Novel coronavirus test kits to be available at hospitals this week

SEOUL -- South Korea said Tuesday that coronavirus test kits will be available at hospitals across the country this week in a move to better fight the fast-spreading new virus.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it will allow the real time test kits to be used at some 50 designated clinics from Friday, with the test results coming out within six hours, shorter than the current 12 hours.

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Cheong Wa Dae dismisses report of delay in Xi's trip to S. Korea into June

SEOUL -- The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae dismissed a news report Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping's plan to visit South Korea is being delayed to June due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus.

A local newspaper reported that Cheong Wa Dae has been pushing for Xi's trip to Seoul between March and April, but the plan is being put off to June as China focuses on containing the spread of the virus.

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N. Korea maintains stable rate of inflation despite sanctions: report

SEOUL -- North Korea appears to have maintained a relatively stable rate of inflation last year despite crippling sanctions restricting its global trade, a report showed Tuesday.

The report by a researcher at the Korean Institute for National Unification contradicts speculation that the prices of daily necessities have risen sharply in North Korea as sanctions undercut supplies to the communist state.

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Court orders agency to pay fans for Ronaldo's 'no-show'

INCHEON -- A South Korean court on Tuesday ruled in favor of local football fans who demanded compensation for football star Cristiano Ronaldo's "no-show" incident in a much-awaited match last year.

A sellout crowd of 65,000 filled the Seoul World Cup Stadium in July 2019 for an exhibition match between a K League All-Star team and Ronaldo's team, Juventus FC.

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S. Korean JCS chairman, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander vow cooperation for peace efforts

SEOUL -- South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki and U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. John Aquilino agreed Tuesday to continue cooperation to support joint efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula, Park's office said.

Their meeting took place while Aquilino is in South Korea for a five-day trip that began on Sunday.

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Movie ticket sales fall to 8-year low in Jan.

SEOUL -- South Korean movie theaters saw their total monthly admissions for January drop to an eight-year low, data showed Tuesday, amid fears of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.

According to data compiled by the Korean Film Council, a total of 16.8 million people went to theaters over the one-month period.

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