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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 February 20, 2020

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

(4th LD) S. Korea's virus cases soar to 82 amid fears of community spread

SEOUL -- South Korea reported 31 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, bringing the total number of infections here to 82, with most new cases occurring in the southeastern city of Daegu. Daegu's mayor urged its 2.5 million people to refrain from going outside to stem the spread of the virus.

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 warned that the virus has begun spreading locally.

(LEAD) 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.

Moon meets Bong Joon-ho, vows gov't efforts against cinema screen monopolies

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Thursday his government would do its best to introduce a legal measure to curb screen monopolies in South Korean cinemas, speaking at a Cheong Wa Dae meeting with Bong Joon-ho, director of the Oscars-winning movie "Parasite."

The president pledged "tangible support" for the further development of the local film industry and cited the proposed ceiling on the total number of screens for a certain movie and the expansion of academies.

(LEAD) S. Korea yet to receive cruise passenger list from Japan: official

SEOUL -- South Korea has yet to receive from Japan the passenger manifest of a coronavirus-hit cruise ship moored near Tokyo, a senior Seoul official said Thursday, as Seoul is seeking an entry ban on foreigners from the quarantined ship.

"We've requested through the foreign ministry the list of passengers who boarded the cruise ship but have not received the list yet for various reasons," Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said in a press briefing in response to a question about the list.

Parliamentary panel passes 3 quarantine-related bills over new coronavirus

SEOUL -- A parliamentary committee passed a set of three bills aimed at beefing up the quarantine response to contagious diseases Thursday as South Korea seeks to contain the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.

The parliamentary health panel approved the three measures -- proposals to revise the quarantine act, the infectious disease control and prevention act and the medical service act.

S. Korea picks more areas subject to tougher lending rules amid rising home prices

SEOUL -- South Korea has designated more areas subject to stricter lending rules in its latest move to curb rising home prices, the transport ministry said Thursday.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has added three counties in Suwon and two counties in Anyang, all located near the capital city of Seoul, to areas subject to strict lending regulations in case of volatility in home prices.

Gov't planning to establish new virus research lab: Cheong Wa Dae official

SEOUL -- South Korea is preparing to launch a new state research center specializing in viral diseases, a Cheong Wa Dae official said Thursday.

Lee Kong-joo, outgoing adviser to President Moon Jae-in for science and technology, said she was working to establish the institute for the constant and systemic study of viruses and other contagion-causing elements.

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