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S. Korea mulls measures for safety of citizens in Iran amid coronavirus outbreaks

Diplomacy 17:06 February 27, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is looking into "various measures" to ensure the safety of its nationals in Iran, a source said Thursday, as new coronavirus infections grow in the Islamic republic under biting sanctions that have caused a shortage of medicine.

As of Wednesday, Iran reported nearly 140 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 19 fatalities, triggering worries about the safety of some 200 South Korean citizens in the Middle East country.

"South Korea has been preparing and examining various measures for the safety of our citizens in preparation for possible emergency situations," the source told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

"At this stage, we are not yet considering evacuations but are preparing for possible emergencies," he added.

The source pointed out that all South Korean missions in the Middle East have been exploring measures to enhance the safety of citizens due to tensions between the United States and Iran and the coronavirus outbreaks.

Since the novel virus spread to Iran, concerns have risen that the country could have difficulty treating its patients due to a lack of medical equipment and medicine.

Some countries like Kuwait have reportedly begun or considered the evacuation of their nationals aboard chartered flights.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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