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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:30 March 10, 2020

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

(LEAD) Moon orders diplomatic consultations over special entry for Korean businesspeople

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in ordered officials Tuesday to seek diplomatic consultations with countries imposing entry bans on South Koreans amid coronavirus concerns over ways to permit Korean businesspeople with health documents to be granted exceptions for entrance.

Possession of a health condition report would mean the person had tested negative for COVID-19, according to an official at Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office.

(5th LD) S. Korea's new virus cases slow to 2-week low, cluster infections still in focus

SEOUL -- South Korea said Tuesday it has stepped up vigilance in its battle to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, with an alarming cluster of infections emerging in Seoul, although the pace of daily new infections continued to slow.

The 131 new cases, which were detected Monday, brought the nation's total number of infections to 7,513, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Monday's additional cases were far below the daily increases of 500 or more last week and marked the slowest one-day rise in confirmed cases in two weeks.

(4th LD) Seoul call center emerges as city's biggest infection cluster, numbers feared to rise

SEOUL -- With at least 50 cases, a call center in southwestern Seoul emerged as the biggest COVID-19 infection cluster here Tuesday, triggering concerns over potential mass transmission in the metropolitan area that is home to 25 million, or nearly half of the country's population.

A high-rise in the neighborhood of Sindorim was closed and disinfected late Monday after workers at a call center on its 11th floor were confirmed as patients, according to Guro Ward, which oversees Sindorim.

(4th LD) S. Korea to tighten rules on stock short selling amid market rout

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial authorities said Tuesday they will tighten regulations on stock short selling as part of market stabilization measures amid increased fluctuations sparked by the outbreak of the new coronavirus and a slide in global oil prices.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will temporarily ease its requirements for the designation of certain shares subject to a possible ban on short selling.

The decision came in a meeting of economy-related ministers and officials held in Seoul.

(LEAD) 109 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

SEOUL -- A total of 109 countries and territories were imposing entry bans or tougher quarantine procedures for people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns Tuesday, up by three from the previous day, the foreign ministry said.

As of 2 p.m., Norway, Slovakia and Rwanda have joined the list of countries and territories imposing stricter immigration controls and requiring or recommending self-quarantine, raising the tally to 49, according to the ministry website.

(LEAD) China to send first batch of coronavirus relief items to S. Korea this week: Seoul ministry

SEOUL -- China will send the first batch of face masks and other coronavirus-related relief items to South Korea this week to help the neighboring country fight the viral disease, a foreign ministry official in Seoul said Tuesday.

About 80,000 N95 respirator masks and 10,000 items of protective clothing will arrive here via a flight on Wednesday, the ministry official told reporters.

Two more batches, including 20,000 masks of the same type and another 1 million surgical masks, will be delivered on Thursday and Friday, respectively.


(LEAD) Seoul, Tokyo kick off trade talks amid escalating diplomatic spat

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan on Tuesday met for the first time in three months to discuss their trade dispute amid dimmed hopes for reconciliation as the spread of the new coronavirus has led to more bilateral trust issues.

The two countries started the director-general level video conference at 10:00 a.m. according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Officials from South Korea and Japan had planned to hold a face-to-face meeting in Seoul, but they later decided to hold a video conference as the two neighbors had virtually shut their borders against each other over the global COVID-19 outbreak.

(Yonhap Interview) COVID-19 vaccine, drugs on fast track for development: IVI chief

SEOUL -- Many nations around the globe and major pharmaceutical companies are ramping up efforts to develop a vaccine and treatment drugs for the new coronavirus, and any tangible results may come out later this year or early next year, said the head of an international organization devoted exclusively to vaccine research and development for poor populations in developing countries.

Jerome Kim, head of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI), said it normally takes years to come up with treatment for a virus, but the COVID-19 outbreak is an emergency that requires swift response.

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