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Yonhap News Summary

All News 16:36 March 03, 2020

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

(2nd LD) Moon declares 'war' against virus, puts gov't on 24-hour alert

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in stated Tuesday that South Korea has begun a "war" against COVID-19 as the crisis in Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province peaks, placing all government agencies on a 24-hour full alert.

Speaking at a weekly Cabinet meeting, he announced plans to inject 30 trillion won (US$25 billion) of funds directly or indirectly into the virus response. The meeting was held in combination with a daily session of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters at the government office complex in Seoul.

(LEAD) Samsung heir visits virus-hit plant in S. Korea

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited one of the company's South Korean plants affected by the new coronavirus on Tuesday and encouraged employees there to overcome the crisis.

Lee, the heir apparent of Samsung Group, South Korea's top conglomerate, inspected Samsung Electronics' smartphone plant in the southeastern city of Gumi and spoke with production line workers there.

One Shincheonji follower tested positive for virus in Feb. after visiting Wuhan: KCDC

SEOUL -- One follower of a minor religious sect at the center of a rapid increase in coronavirus cases in South Korea tested positive for the novel coronavirus late last month after visiting the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the health authorities here said Tuesday.

"We are looking into two cases of Shincheonji followers who have visited Wuhan since January," Kwon Jun-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), said during a press briefing. "One of them has proved not to be a patient, while the other was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus close to the end of February."

Gov't to postpone civil service entrance written test over coronavirus

SEOUL -- South Korea's government said Tuesday it has decided to postpone a written test for applicants seeking to become public servants at the lowest ranked grade nine of the civil service until after May amid the spread of the new coronavirus.

The test, scheduled for March 28, will be put off until possibly after May, according the Ministry of Personnel Management.

(LEAD) Six sailors wounded in grenade explosion on Navy vessel

BUSAN/SEOUL -- A grenade exploded on a Navy vessel during a maritime firing drill off the southern coast on Tuesday, wounding six sailors, two of them seriously, the Navy said.

The explosion occurred for unidentified reasons earlier in the day on the Chamsuri-class patrol killer boat affiliated with the Third Fleet headquartered in the southern city of Mokpo, the Navy said.

(2nd LD) 3 additional coronavirus cases reported in military, total at 31
(ATTN: ADDS defense chief's message in paras 9-10, photo)

SEOUL -- Two more service personnel and a civilian worker for the military tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the military to 31 early Tuesday, the defense ministry said.

The newly confirmed COVID-19 cases were an Army officer and an employee of the Air Force stationed in the southeastern city of Daegu as well as a Marine Corps officer in the nearby port city of Pohang in North Gyeongsang Province, according to the ministry.

87 countries, regions restricting entry of people from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

SEOUL -- A total of 87 countries and regions are imposing entry bans or quarantine procedures on visitors from South Korea on Tuesday, despite Seoul's diplomatic push to curb what it calls excessively restrictive measures.

As of 9 a.m., 36 countries and regions were barring the entry of travelers who have visited South Korea in the past two weeks, while 51 countries and regions, including China, were implementing quarantine procedures for them, according to the foreign ministry.

(2nd LD) BTS' 'ON' debuts at career-best 4th on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart

SEOUL -- "ON," the lead track of BTS' new album, debuted at 4th on the Hot 100 singles chart this week, the highest rank for any BTS song, Billboard said Monday (U.S. time).

"BTS scores its third and highest-peaking Hot 100 top 10, and the highest-charting song ever for a K-pop group, as 'On' roars in at No. 4," Billboard said, announcing the weekly chart dated March 7.

Seoul stocks up for 2nd day ahead of G7 measures on coronavirus

SEOUL -- South Korean shares ended higher for the second straight session on Tuesday ahead of a crucial teleconference by the Group of Seven, a collective of rich countries, during which they will roll out concerted measures to mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 11.64 points, or 0.58 percent, to 2,014.15.

(2nd LD) S. Korea striving to improve supply of face masks amid mounting public anger

SEOUL -- South Korea is making all-out efforts to improve the supply of face masks as the country's novel coronavirus situation worsens, but public anger is running high over its hastily orchestrated supply scheme.

The country last week approved a plan to limit face mask exports to a maximum of 10 percent of total output and distribute 50 percent through public retail platforms, claiming that this will supply 5 million protective masks to the domestic market daily beginning Thursday.

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