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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:16 March 02, 2020

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

(4th LD) S. Korea's virus cases top 4,200, school breaks extended nationwide

SEOUL -- South Korea's confirmed cases of the new coronavirus continued to spike on Monday, and school breaks were extended nationwide until March 22, as the nation provides an "all-out response" to the fast-spreading virus that includes a massive testing program.

The country reported 476 new cases of the coronavirus as of midnight, bringing the total number of infections here to 4,212, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(4th LD) N. Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles into East Sea: JCS

SEOUL -- North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Monday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the first such launches since it warned of "a new strategic weapon" early this year.

The projectiles were fired from areas near its eastern coastal city of Wonsan towards the northeast at 12:37 p.m. within a 20-second interval, the JCS said, adding that both flew around 240 kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of around 35 km.

Defense chief says N.K. striving for weapons development amid little progress in dialogue

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is concentrating on its weapons development while remaining unresponsive to offers for talks, South Korea's defense chief said Monday, as the North flexed its military muscles with two projectile launches for the first time in three months.

Jeong Kyeong-doo made the remark in a congratulatory message for a commissioning ceremony of Reserve Officers' Training Corps, which came as Pyongyang launched what are believed to be short-range ballistic missiles in the first such launches since Pyongyang warned of a "new strategic weapon" at the beginning of the year.

Hyundai's Feb. sales fall 13 pct on reduced output

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest carmaker, said Monday its sales dropped 13 percent last month from a year earlier partly due to a shortage of parts caused by the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which limited its output.

The company sold 275,044 vehicles in February, down from 315,820 units a year earlier, it said in a statement.

(LEAD) 81 countries, regions restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

SEOUL -- A total of 81 countries and regions are imposing entry bans or quarantine procedures on visitors from South Korea over new coronavirus fears on Monday, despite Seoul's beefed-up diplomacy to prevent inordinate measures targeting its citizens.

As of 3 p.m., 36 countries and regions plan to ban or are barring the entry of travelers who have visited South Korea in the past two weeks, while 45 countries and regions are implementing quarantine procedures for them, according to the foreign ministry.

'Drive-through' testing centers expand across S. Korea

SEOUL -- More "drive-through" facilities to test for the novel coronavirus were set up across South Korea on Monday as the country's health authorities strive to provide easier and quicker ways to test the virus and contain its further spread.

The country reported 476 new cases of COVID-19 as of midnight, bringing the total number of infections here to 4,212, the largest outbreak outside of China. So far, 24 people, mostly ones who were elderly or had underlying illnesses, have died.

(LEAD) Jeju Air signs $45 mln deal to acquire Eastar Jet

SEOUL -- Jeju Air Co., South Korea's largest low-cost carrier, said Monday it has signed a deal to acquire Eastar Jet for 54.5 billion won (US$45 million) as part of its expansion strategy.

Jeju Air was originally planning to sign a share purchase agreement with Eastar Holdings by December to acquire a controlling 51.17 percent stake in the carrier for 69.5 billion.

GM Korea's Feb. sales fall 14 pct on lower demand

SEOUL -- GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., said Monday its sales fell 14 percent last month from a year earlier on lower demand for its models.

GM Korea sold 28,126 vehicles in February, down from 32,718 units the previous year, the company said in a statement.

(News Focus) BTS cements presence in world music scene with 4th Billboard win

SEOUL -- Topping the key American and British music charts with record-breaking first-week sales figures this week, K-pop phenomenon BTS is changing the global music landscape as arguably the most influential cross-border musical act in decades.

According to Billboard, BTS' latest album, "Map of the Soul: 7," debuted atop the Billboard 200 album chart dated March 7, scoring yet another No. 1 on the album chart following its three previous victories.

Moon inspects military hospital treating COVID-19 patients

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in on Monday visited a major South Korean military hospital offering medical services to soldiers and civilians infected with the new coronavirus, as the country has begun to mobilize military resources in earnest to fight the novel coronavirus.

He also met with a group of new graduates from the Korea Armed Forces Nursing Academy who are set to be dispatched to Daegu, the epicenter of the fast spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country.

(LEAD) Suspended men's basketball season to resume after 4 weeks

SEOUL -- The South Korean men's professional basketball league announced Monday that its regular season, halted since the weekend due to the new coronavirus, will resume at the end of this month.

Following its emergency board meeting, the Korean Basketball League (KBL) said its 10 teams will be back in action starting March 29.

Samsung breaks ground for $220 mln R&D center in Vietnam

HANOI -- South Korea's top tech firm Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday it has started building a research and development (R&D) center in Vietnam.

Samsung, the world's No. 1 smartphone maker, said it will invest US$220 million to complete the R&D center in Hanoi by the end of 2022.

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