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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 February 24, 2020

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

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(3rd LD) S. Korea's virus cases soar to 763, 1 more death reported for 7 in total

SEOUL -- South Korea reported its seventh fatality from the new coronavirus and 161 new confirmed cases on Monday, bringing the total infections here to 763, with health authorities vowing to contain the spread of the virus in the southwestern city of Daegu where more than half of the total cases were reported.

Daegu, where 2.5 million people are asked to stay indoors, saw its confirmed cases jump by 131 to 457 on Monday morning, despite efforts to stem the spread of the virus, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

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Foreign countries tighten travel restrictions on S. Korea as new coronavirus cases spike

SEOUL -- At least half a dozen countries have banned the entry of visitors travelling from South Korea, with nine others tightening travel restrictions for the Asian nation, after Seoul reported a sudden spike in new coronavirus infections last week.

South Korea has seen the number of confirmed coronavirus cases spike sharply from 30 on Feb. 17 to 763 cases and seven deaths as of Monday morning. Of the total, more than 60 percent of the patients were found to be members of a church in the country's southeastern city of Daegu.

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29 S. Korean pilgrims to Israel infected with coronavirus: authorities

ANDONG -- A total of 29 South Koreans who recently made a group pilgrimage to Israel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, health authorities here said Monday.

Of 39 Catholic pilgrims from North Gyeongsang Province who visited Israel between Feb. 8 and 16, 11 were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, while the other 18 were confirmed positive and quarantined last week, according to municipal health authorities.

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(LEAD) Airlines to suspend flights to Daegu over virus fears

SEOUL -- South Korean airlines have suspended or plan to halt flights to South Korea's southeastern city of Daegu, where hundreds of new coronavirus infections have been reported over the weekend.

Korean Air Lines Co., the country's biggest airline, canceled its flights to Daegu from the southern resort island of Jeju and Incheon, South Korea's main gateway, on Sunday.

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(LEAD) U.S. says 'most' S. Korean workers to be furloughed if no defense deal is reached

WASHINGTON -- The United States will furlough "most" South Korean nationals employed at its military bases on the peninsula if no defense cost-sharing deal is reached by the beginning of April, the Pentagon said Sunday.

In a rare "media advisory" previewing Monday's meeting in Washington between South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Pentagon said the pair will discuss a range of bilateral issues, including the regional security environment, policy toward North Korea, the planned transition of wartime operational control, and the bilateral cost-sharing deal, known as the Special Measures Agreement.

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S. Korea vows efforts for prompt signing of defense cost deal with U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korea will redouble efforts to reach a defense cost-sharing agreement with the United States, the defense ministry said Monday, after Washington warned that South Korean workers at American military bases could be furloughed unless a deal is reached in time.

The Pentagon said Sunday it will be necessary to furlough most South Koreans at the U.S. bases here on April 1 if an agreement is not reached over how much Seoul should pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). Last year's one-year deal expired on Dec. 31.

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(LEAD) N. Korea quarantines about 380 foreigners as part of preventive efforts against virus

SEOUL -- North Korean state media reported Monday that Pyongyang has quarantined about 380 foreigners as part of efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from breaking out in the country.

North Korea has not reported any case of COVID-19 infection since the flu-like illness was first identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, but it has taken various preventive measures against the virus to block its outbreak on its soil.

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N.K. media slams S. Korean FM for discussing Korean peace with foreign countries

SEOUL -- A North Korean propaganda outlet slammed South Korea's foreign minister on Monday for discussing Korean peace with her foreign counterparts in what it calls a "spineless act" of trying to win foreign approval for issues between the two Koreas.

Earlier this month, Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held talks with her U.S. and Japanese counterparts -- Mike Pompeo and Toshimitsu Motegi -- on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany to discuss cooperation over stalled nuclear talks with North Korea.
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