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S. Korea reports 476 new virus cases, total now at 4,212

All News 11:03 March 02, 2020

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported 476 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of infections here to 4,212, as the nation provides an "all-out response" to the fast-spreading virus that includes a massive testing program.

So far, 22 people, mostly ones with underlying illnesses, have died in South Korea from the respiratory virus that emerged in China.

About 60 percent of confirmed cases have been linked to a branch of Shincheonji religious sect in the southeastern city of Daegu.

Of the 476 new cases, 377 are in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and 68 are in neighboring North Gyeongsang Province, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The Monday morning update was based on the number of virus patients tallied at midnight. Previously, a morning update had been based on the number tallied at 9:00 a.m. on the day, but health authorities changed it to help front-line health workers spend more time battling the virus.

The second update, to be posted Monday afternoon, will be based on the number tallied between Sunday midnight and 4:00 p.m. on Monday, officials said.

A health worker checks his protective glasses before starting his work in Daegu on March 1, 2020. (Yonhap)

Other major provinces and cities have also reported some infections, with Seoul reporting four additional cases.

Since raising the virus alert level to "red," the highest level, on Feb. 23, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu, the epicenter of the virus outbreak here, and North Gyeongsang Province.

On Sunday, President Moon Jae-in said the government "is now waging an all-out response after raising the crisis alert to the highest level."

In Daegu and North Gyeongsang, temporary treatment facilities will be expanded to exclusively handle suspected cases and diagnostic examinations, Moon said.

"I believe that an increasing number of people will join these efforts and that we will succeed in defeating the virus without fail," Moon said.

Experts said the number of confirmed cases is expected to increase in the coming days as health authorities have begun testing more than 210,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus at the center of the rapid spread in other provinces.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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