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(LEAD) S. Korea reports 142 more cases of novel coronavirus, total rises to 346

All News 10:40 February 22, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 3rd para)

SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 142 new cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections in the nation to 346.

The number of COVID-19 infections has spiked in the past several days, with most new infections traced to Daenam Hospital in the southeastern county of Cheongdo and a minor Christian sect in the southeastern city of Daegu.

Of the 142 new cases, 92 are related to Daenam Hospital, where South Korea's first fatality occurred, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Medical workers transfer a suspected coronavirus patient from Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to another hospital on Feb. 21, 2020. Of about 600 patients and medical staff at the hospital, 16 tested positive for COVID-19, health authorities said. (Yonhap)

A 63-year-old man, who died of pneumonia at the hospital on Wednesday, posthumously tested positive for the virus.

On Friday, another patient at the same hospital died from COVID-19, the second death from the virus here.

The public health agency said 38 new cases are tied to the minor Christian sect known as Sincheonji in Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province.

More than 100 virus patients have been traced to the church's services.

On Friday, South Korea declared that Daegu and its adjacent county Cheongdo are "special care zones" as a cluster of coronavirus cases has been reported there in recent days.

Daegu, home to 2.4 million people, is South Korea's fourth-largest city.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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