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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:09 March 17, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korea again pushes back new school year on virus fears

SEOUL -- South Korea said Tuesday it will be postponing the new school year for another two weeks as it fights COVID-19 group infections that have occurred at churches, hospitals and even Zumba classes.

Under the measure, the new school year at kindergartens and elementary, middle and high schools nationwide will begin on April 6, five weeks later than in normal years, according to the education ministry.

(3rd LD) Seoul stocks extend headlong slide to 5th consecutive day, Korean won at 10-year

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks suffered an extended rout on Tuesday, falling sharply for the fifth consecutive session as abysmal investor sentiment failed to improve despite a set of drastic monetary easing policies around the globe. The Korean won sank to the lowest in 10 years against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surrendered 42.42 points, or 2.47 percent, to close at 1,672.44, the lowest closing since Oct. 5, 2011, when the corresponding figure was 1,666.52 points.

(LEAD) Cluster infections, incoming travelers threaten capital area

SEOUL -- South Korea reported fewer than 100 new coronavirus cases for a third straight day on Tuesday, but concerns lingered in the metropolitan area as group transmission and imported cases emerged as new risks in the anti-virus fight.

Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, reported a sharp increase of 31 cases, which brought the total in the province to 262, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(LEAD) Protestant churches under fire for holding Sunday services despite coronavirus epidemic

SEOUL -- Protestant churches in South Korea have been under fire for continuing with Sunday services that pose the risk of mass infection amid the country's anti-coronavirus fight.

South Korea on Tuesday reported 84 new cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total to 8,320 and marking the third consecutive day the number was below 100, according to the quarantine authorities.

USFK commander praises S. Korea's handling of coronavirus outbreak

SEOUL -- U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams has praised South Korea's response to the coronavirus outbreak, commending local health authorities as "extraordinary partners" for their professionalism, transparency and coordination efforts.

"Cannot underscore enough how great KCDC has been for us to work with. Open, transparent, collaborative and extremely helpful. They have been tireless, around the clock for over a month and going strong," Abrams tweeted Monday. KCDC stands for Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(5th LD) New cases in S. Korea stay low for 3rd day, cluster infections rising in capital area

SEOUL -- South Korea recorded daily new infections of the new coronavirus in the double digits for the third straight day Tuesday, but the daily tally in Seoul and neighboring areas surpassed that in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the two epicenters of the fast-spreading virus.

In an unprecedented measure against the coronavirus pandemic, South Korea decided to extend all school breaks by another two weeks to April 6. All child care centers were also ordered to stay closed until April 6.

S. Korea, China, Japan hold conference call on coronavirus response

SEOUL -- The foreign ministries of South Korea, China and Japan held a working-level conference call on Tuesday to discuss cooperation in stemming the regional and global spread of the new coronavirus, officials said.

Kim Jung-han, director-general for Asian and Pacific affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry, joined the call with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Wu Jianghao and Shigeki Takizaki.

(LEAD) S. Korea increasingly turns eyes on imported cases amid slowing virus infections

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday decided to expand its special quarantine procedures to people coming from all countries of the world as concerns about imported cases are rising after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Starting Thursday, all people arriving in South Korea will be subject to the special quarantine measures, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

150 countries, territories restricting entry from S. Korea over coronavirus fears

SEOUL -- Ten more countries have banned the entry of people from South Korea over coronavirus concerns, raising the total number of countries and territories imposing such entry or quarantine restrictions to 150, even though Seoul has seen a marked drop in new infections.

Eighty-five countries and territories were set to impose or were already imposing an entry ban on people from Korea, up from 75 the previous day, the foreign ministry's chart showed Tuesday.

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