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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 February 20, 2020

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.

(2nd LD) S. Korea's virus cases soar to 82 amid fears of community spread

SEOUL -- South Korea reported 31 new cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections here to 82, with most new cases centered on the southeastern city of Daegu.

This week's surge in the number of infected people, increasing the nation's total infections by more than 50, came as the health authorities declared that the virus has begun spreading locally.

Daegu on alert as coronavirus cases surge

SEOUL -- The South Korean city of Daegu is on alert as concerns over the new coronavirus are peaking in line with a surge in patients, with many of them suspected of contracting the potentially fatal virus at a church associated with a minor religious sect.

On Thursday, South Korea reported 31 new cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections here to 82. The first case in the country was reported on Jan. 20.

Moon's renewed economy drive hit by fast virus spread

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's campaign to block the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak has suffered a heavy blow from the faster-than-expected spread of the virus in South Korea this week.

Having for weeks placed his No. 1 priority on countering the novel coronavirus outbreak, first confirmed here on Jan. 20, Moon has shifted the focus to reviving the momentum for economic recovery.

Refiners, chemical firms feared to take further hit from virus

SEOUL -- The new coronavirus outbreak is expected to deal a fresh blow to South Korean oil refiners and chemical makers already reeling from worsening profits, industry sources said Thursday.

The pessimistic outlook comes as South Korean refineries' exports to China, their largest overseas market, are projected to drop sharply because of the COVID-19 shock.

N. Korea imposes 30-day quarantine to fight coronavirus

SEOUL -- North Korea is making all-out efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from reaching the country, including extending the quarantine period for higher-risk people to 30 days, Pyongyang's ambassador to Geneva was quoted as saying.

Ambassador Han Tae-song made the remarks in an interview with Reuters, stressing that the communist nation has not seen any confirmed case yet of the deadly virus that has killed more than 2,000 people in neighboring China alone.

800 SK hynix workers in self-quarantine over new coronavirus

SEOUL -- SK hynix Inc., the world's No. 2 memory chipmaker, said Thursday that about 800 workers at its South Korean headquarters have been self-quarantined as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, although such a move is not affecting its factory operations.

SK hynix said roughly 800 workers at its Icheon campus, about 70 kilometers south of Seoul, have been ordered to put themselves into self-quarantine after it found that one of its new recruits had been in close contact with a novel coronavirus patient in Daegu.

Hanjin partners with U.S. startup accelerator for new growth driver

SEOUL -- Hanjin Group, South Korea's airline conglomerate, said Thursday it has partnered with a U.S. startup accelerator to explore new business opportunities.

In the partnership, Hanjin will work with Plug and Play Center, a Silicon Valley-based early-stage investor and startup accelerator, to generate a new growth driver in the "travel and hospitality" business sector in addition to its mainstay airline business, the company said in a statement.

U.S. Senate panel to hold hearing on N. Korea policy

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing next week with former U.S. government officials to discuss North Korea policy, the panel's website showed Wednesday.

The hearing, titled "North Korea Policy One Year After Hanoi," will be held Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy.

(LEAD) U.S. says to adjust S. Korean workers' services if no defense cost deal

WASHINGTON -- The United States will adjust the services provided by South Korean workers on its military bases on the peninsula if the two countries fail to reach a cost-sharing deal in the coming weeks, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Nearly 9,000 South Korean workers face a furlough in April if the allies fail to renew their agreement on sharing the cost for the stationing of 28,500 American troops on the peninsula.

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