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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:24 March 19, 2020

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

(2nd LD) S. Korea sees uptick in new virus cases as new clusters pop up

SEOUL -- South Korea saw an uptick in daily new infections of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, as new clusters of infection continued to pop up in the virus-hit southeastern city of Daegu as well as Seoul and neighboring areas.

The 152 new cases, which were detected Wednesday and reversed four days of double-digit daily new infections, brought the nation's total number of infections to 8,565, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

(2nd LD) Moon approves massive financial aid package for small businesses

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in made public a major small business rescue package worth 50 trillion won (US$39 billion) on Thursday in response to the coronavirus crisis during an inaugural "emergency economic council" session.

He said the package is aimed at preventing small and medium-sized firms, small business owners and self-employed people from going bankrupt and easing their finance-related anxiety amid growing fears of a global recession and credit crunch.

(LEAD) Stock trading halted as market nose-dives

SEOUL -- The Korea Exchange temporarily suspended stock trading Thursday as the country's two markets dipped sharply amid rising fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

A five-minute trading halt was issued on the main bourse at 11:50 a.m. against a sudden market fluctuation, the Seoul bourse operator said.

(LEAD) S. Korea imposes special quarantine measures on all arrivals from abroad

SEOUL -- South Korea started imposing special quarantine measures for all new arrivals from abroad on Thursday as it guards against imported cases of the novel coronavirus, the country's health authorities said.

South Koreans and foreign nationals alike are subject to the strict measure, and all entrants to the country must undergo fever checks at air terminals and sea ports, according to the health authorities.

(LEAD) First-ever strong wind warning to be issued for Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's weather agency on Thursday issued a strong wind advisory for the entire nation, calling for concerted preparedness for typhoon-class winds and forest fires throughout the day.

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said wind gusts of up to 90 kilometers per hour, or 25 meters per second, will blow across the nation, due to the difference in air pressure between cold low pressure over North Korea and warm high pressure southeast of the peninsula.

(LEAD) S. Korean chartered flight heads home carrying 80 people evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran

SEOUL -- A South Korean government-arranged chartered flight departed for Seoul on Thursday, carrying 80 people evacuated from Iran due to the worsening outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The Asiana Airlines plane, with 74 Koreans and six Iranian family members aboard, took off from Al Maktoum International Airport near Dubai at 8:05 a.m. (Korean time), the foreign ministry in Seoul said. It is scheduled to arrive at Incheon International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

N. Korea again extends school break over coronavirus

SEOUL -- North Korea has again extended the vacation of kindergartens and schools across the country over coronavirus concerns, the unification ministry said Thursday.

Late last month, the North said that it had postponed the opening of kindergartens and schools, without mentioning exact dates, as part of the country's stepped-up efforts to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country.

(Yonhap Feature) N. Korean defectors eye politics as weapon to make voice heard

SEOUL -- Back in North Korea, Ji Seong-ho saw elections as nothing more than a formality, because even a vote against the ruling Workers' Party-picked candidates, let alone criticism of the government, could land voters in prison.

Running for office was an unthinkable privilege reserved for elites and well-connected people.

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