(2nd LD) Moon says Seoul, nearby areas in critical fight against virus, vows no let-up in quarantine
(ATTN: ADDS photo, details throughout)
SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Monday that South Korea is facing an all-important round of battle against the spread of the novel coronavirus in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, and stressed the government won't let up on efforts to contain the virus.
Daegu, a city located 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and nearby North Gyeongsang Province saw steady reductions in the number of patients over the past few days. But several cases of mass infections were confirmed in the wider capital zone, with a population of around 25 million, particularly centered on a call center, an internet cafe, a church and a hospital, Moon noted.
It's a reason why South Korea can't let its guard down, he pointed out.
"It is more important from now. It is the time when success in the quarantining of the Seoul capital area is of importance," he said at a Seoul City Hall meeting on responding to the viral disease. Among attendees were Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung and Incheon Mayor Park Nam-chun.
"There is anxiety that all efforts and accomplishments regarding quarantine may return to zero if a more sizable cluster infection or rapid community transmission occurs in the capital zone," Moon said.
The president emphasized the significance of a joint quarantine system of the metropolitan area.
"A joint quarantine system enabled through cooperation between (different) city and provincial governments is critical since the capital region is literally the same living zone," Moon said.
He also pledged full efforts to block the additional inflow of the virus, which is fast spreading across the globe, into South Korea.
As of Monday morning, 253 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported in Seoul, 231 in Gyeonggi Province and 30 in Incheon.
The regions are regarded as the last line of defense in the nation's war against the pandemic.
South Korea has so far reported 8,236 cases, with the number of new cases slowing in the last few days.
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