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Moon voices concern about big increase in number of new coronavirus patients

All News 11:56 February 19, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in expressed concern Wednesday about reports of a "considerable" number of new patients here infected with the novel coronavirus, stressing the importance of strengthening "regional defense" against the further spread of the virus.

He also reaffirmed his administration's resolve to protect children and students from such diseases and other dangers like fine dust, speaking at a rare Cheong Wa Dae meeting with superintendents of the educational authorities in 17 major cities and provinces.

"Today, I received a report that the number of confirmed patients has increased considerably," he said at the outset of the session, open to pool reporters. "It seems linked with the 31st patient (reported) yesterday, a case which has caused lots of concerns."

President Moon Jae-in (R) attends a Cheong Wa Dae meeting in Seoul with the superintendents of educational authorities in 17 major cities and provinces on Feb. 19, 2020. (Yonhap)

He emphasized the necessity of establishing a "sure-fire community-based local defense network by greatly strengthening the community infection response system."

Earlier in the day, the country's health authorities announced 15 more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections here to 46. Most of the new patients live in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and adjacent areas. They are presumed to have contracted the virus through contact with a 61-year-old South Korean woman diagnosed with the coronavirus Tuesday.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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