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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:14 March 12, 2020

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

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(5th LD) S. Korea's virus cases on slide, authorities on guard for cluster infections

SEOUL -- South Korea recorded another drop in its daily new infections Thursday as massive testing of a religious sect's followers in the southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the new coronavirus here, is nearing an end, but concerns are lingering over cluster infections in Seoul and its neighboring areas.

The 114 new cases of the coronavirus, which were detected Wednesday and marked the lowest number of daily infections in more than two weeks, brought the nation's total infections to 7,869.

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(3rd LD) Virus infections linked to Seoul call center reach 102: mayor

SEOUL -- The number of new coronavirus infections linked to a call center in southwestern Seoul has reached 102 cases, the capital's mayor said Thursday, amid rising concerns over possible mass transmission in the metropolitan area.

Among the cases, Seoul accounted for the highest number of infections with 71 patients, followed by 17 in Incheon, west of Seoul, and 14 in Gyeonggi Province, according to Mayor Park Won-soon.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea unveils virus prevention guidelines for confined workplaces

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday unveiled virus prevention guidelines for confined workplaces and public-use facilities to stem cluster infections of the novel coronavirus following a massive group transmission at a call center in Seoul.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will distribute the guidelines to those who operate their businesses in enclosed spaces, including internet cafes, karaoke rooms and fitness centers, which are vulnerable to group transmission of COVID-19.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea to apply enhanced quarantine on arrivals from 5 European countries

SEOUL -- South Korea said Thursday that all people arriving in the country after visiting Germany and four other European countries will face strengthened quarantine starting next week as part of efforts to stem the inflow of the new coronavirus.

Starting Sunday, entrants from France, Germany, Spain, Britain and the Netherlands will be required to get fever checks and submit papers on their health condition, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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(4th LD) Trump says U.S. may reevaluate travel warning on S. Korea

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his administration may reevaluate the U.S. travel warning on South Korea as the coronavirus situation in the country improves.

Trump made the remark during an address to the nation held at the White House, after announcing a ban on travel from Europe, except the United Kingdom, to the United States for 30 days starting Friday at midnight.

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(LEAD) 123 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus concerns

SEOUL -- A total of 123 countries and territories were restricting entry or enforcing tougher quarantine measures for people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns on Thursday, the foreign ministry said.

As of 2 p.m., 47 countries and territories were planning to impose or were enforcing an entry ban on people who have been in Korea at least in the past two weeks.

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(LEAD) Coronavirus to have bigger, longer impact on economy than past epidemics: BOK

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank said Thursday the economic impact of the new coronavirus will likely be greater and also last longer than those of other epidemics seen in the past, possibly hinting at a key rate reduction down the road.

"The ongoing crisis is expected to have a greater impact than in the past in that COVID-19 is spreading to other countries while China currently is the world's largest trading and tourism exchange country and plays a critical role in the global supply chain," the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in its report on its monetary policy submitted to the National Assembly.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks slide to 4 1/2-year low, Korean won sharply down

SEOUL -- Seoul stocks plunged by nearly 4 percent Thursday to hit the lowest in 4 1/2 years due to the U.S.' ban on travel from Europe and lack of its details on coronavirus economic-rescue package. The Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) plummeted 73.94 points, or 3.87 percent, to 1,834.33, the lowest level since Aug. 24, 2015, when the index closed at 1,829.81 points. The KOSPI dipped to as low as 1,808.56 points at one point.

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New BTS album sells record high volume in K-pop history

SEOUL -- "Map of the Soul: 7," the new album by boy band BTS, sold more than 4.11 million copies in the first nine days of its release last month, becoming the most sold album in the Korean pop history, its management agency said Thursday.

It took nine days for the new album to shatter the previous highest album sales record of nearly 3.4 million set by BTS' own album, "Map of the Soul: Persona," released in April last year.
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