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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:40 February 19, 2020

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

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(6th LD) Alarmed by cluster of 15 new virus cases, S. Korea struggles to contain further spread

SEOUL -- South Korea confirmed 20 more cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections here to 51, with most new patients traced to church services, stoking concerns that the country may identify more virus patients despite tighter quarantine measures.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), 18 of the new patients are in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and in the adjacent North Gyeongsang region.

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(4th LD) Coronavirus 'super spreader' at church services raises concerns of more cases coming

SEOUL -- The spread of the new coronavirus in South Korea may be accelerating, with the country's probable first "super spreader" having infected as many as 14 out of the 20 newly reported virus cases at church services.

The country's 31st COVID-19 patient, who resides in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is judged to have infected at least 15 others, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) on Wednesday.

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(LEAD) Appeals court raises prison term for ex-President Lee Myung-bak, bail revoked

SEOUL -- An appellate court on Wednesday delivered a heavier prison term of 17 years to former President Lee Myung-bak on bribery and embezzlement charges, bringing him back into custody after he was released on bail.

The prison term is higher than the 15 years of imprisonment that a lower court handed down in October 2018 to Lee who ruled the country from 2008-2013.

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S. Korea to conduct tests for novel coronavirus on everyone with symptoms

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to check those who show symptoms for the novel coronavirus as it grapples with new infections without links to existing spreading and overseas travel, health authorities here said Wednesday.

From Thursday, the measure will be effective to broaden screening for more people and make it easier to detect and isolate COVID-19 cases, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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(LEAD) Court rules ride-hailing service Tada is legitimate rental car service

SEOUL -- A Seoul court ruled in favor of the ride-hailing service Tada as a legitimate rental car service Wednesday, in a landmark decision that will likely support the mobility platform industry.

The Seoul Central District Court acquitted Lee Jae-woong, car-sharing app operator SoCar, and Park Jae-uk, head of SoCar's subsidiary Value Creators & Company (VCNC), of charges of violating the passenger transportation service act with the new service.

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(LEAD) S. Korea to send more relief items to virus-hit Wuhan

SEOUL -- South Korea will send another batch of relief items to the new coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan later Wednesday as part of its efforts to provide urgent assistance to help the neighboring country cope with the disease, the foreign ministry said.

An Asiana Airlines cargo flight carrying masks, protective clothing and other relief goods will depart from Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, at 11:45 p.m., according to the ministry.

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Fitch Solutions cuts Korea's 2020 growth outlook to 2.2 pct on virus

SEOUL -- Fitch Solutions Inc. downgraded its outlook for South Korea's 2020 economic growth to 2.2 percent from 2.5 percent Wednesday, citing the fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The latest forecast by the consultancy arm of global credit appraiser Fitch Group is lower than the Bank of Korea's prediction of 2.3 percent expansion for this year.

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Hyundai Motor Group chief to quit director post for flagship unit

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo will no longer serve as executive director of flagship Hyundai Motor Co., the company said Wednesday, in a move that will strengthen his only son's position in leading the South Korean automotive group.

Hyundai Motor's board of directors has not reappointed the 81-year-old as an executive director for another three-year term, the group said.

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