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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:05 February 21, 2020

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

S Korea delegation holds talks with U.S. over humanitarian exports to Iran

SEOUL -- A South Korean delegation has met U.S. officials in Washington for talks over Seoul's efforts to resume humanitarian exports to Iran that have been halted due to fears about anti-Tehran sanctions, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Hong Jin-wook, the ministry's director-general for Middle East affairs and head of the delegation, held meetings with Brad Smith, deputy director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, and Nick Stewart, an official of the State Department, on Thursday.

S. Korea invites senior Japanese officials to P4G summit

SEOUL -- South Korea has invited Japan's foreign and environment ministers to a climate change summit that Seoul is hosting this summer, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi were invited to attend the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G), slated to take place in Seoul in late June, the ministry said in a release.

(LEAD) Seoul city, schools to support Chinese students as coronavirus outbreak prolongs

SEOUL -- The Seoul city government and universities in the capital on Friday announced a set of measures aimed at helping Chinese students enrolled in local schools as the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of abating.

The measures include providing shuttle bus services from the airport to schools for students who are returning for the new school year after spending their winter vacation in their home country, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul-based universities.

(LEAD) Coronavirus presumed as factor in S. Korean man's death

SEOUL -- The new coronavirus likely was a factor in the death of a South Korean man who posthumously tested positive for COVID-19, the health authorities said Friday.

The 63-year-old man who died of pneumonia Wednesday at a hospital in the southeastern city of Cheongdo was confirmed to be infected Thursday, marking the country's first death of someone infected with the novel coronavirus.

(5th LD) S. Korea steps up containment efforts as virus cases jump to 156

SEOUL -- South Korea said Friday the new coronavirus is spreading across the country, but it is in the initial stage of a full-blown outbreak and still "manageable," although the number of infections has almost tripled in just three days.

The country reported 52 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing its total number of infections to 156, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

(LEAD) Seoul city to ban rallies, Shincheonji church services to curb virus

SEOUL -- As part of drastic measures to fight the spreading new coronavirus, the Seoul city government on Friday said it will ban rallies at three major public squares in the city center and close down Shincheonji churches in the capital.

"We plan to ban the use of Seoul plaza, Cheonggye plaza and Gwanghwamun plaza to protect the elderly who are susceptible to contagious diseases," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said in a press briefing, referring to venues where conservative rallies have taken place in the past few months.

(4th LD) S. Korea reports first coronavirus cases among service members

SEOUL/JEJU -- Coronavirus cases were confirmed among military personnel for the first time Friday, including an Air Force officer at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters, sending officials scrambling to stop the virus from spreading further into the barracks.

Three cases were confirmed, one each in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. They are the first COVID-19 cases among service members since South Korea reported its first case last month.

Military to temporarily suspend drafting soldiers from Daegu

SEOUL -- The military manpower agency said Friday it will suspend conscription in the southeastern city of Daegu and the adjacent county of Cheongdo next week following a mass outbreak of the new coronavirus in the region.

The move came after the government designated the two areas as a "special management zone" after they reported nearly 100 additional COVID-19 cases in the last few days. With a population of 2.4 million, Daegu is the country's fourth-largest city.

(2nd LD) New BTS album 'Map of the Soul: 7' set to rock global music scene

SEOUL -- K-pop phenomenon BTS will drop a new album, "Map of the Soul: 7," Friday evening, rocking the world music scene once again.

The upcoming 20-track album is the second part of its "Map of the Soul" album series, following "Map of the Soul: Persona," released in April last year.
Like its predecessor, "7" is a soul-searching musical journey, inspired by concepts developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung like the persona.

(LEAD) Moon: virus spread in local communities 'very severe'

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in called Friday for swift and powerful measures to curb the further spread of the new coronavirus in local communities, repeatedly describing the current situation as "severe."

He was receiving an emergency briefing from Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on the confirmation of roughly 100 additional COVID-19 cases in Daegu, a three-hour drive southeast from Seoul, and the nearby town of Cheongdo on Thursday and Friday.

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