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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:03 March 19, 2020

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

(5th LD) S. Korea sees uptick in new virus cases as new clusters pop up
(ATTN: ADDS official's remarks, details in paras 5-6, para 25)

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.

(3rd LD) S. Korea rolls out 50 tln won financial aid package for virus-hit small businesses
(ATTN: MODIFIES headline, 2nd para; UPDATES with press briefing in last 5 paras)

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 emergency financing plan is aimed at preventing small and medium-sized firms, tiny business owners and self-employed people from going bankrupt, and easing their financial anxiety amid growing fears of a global recession and credit crunch.

(2nd LD) S. Korea imposes special quarantine measures on all arrivals from abroad
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4, 6)

SEOUL -- South Korea started imposing special quarantine measures for all new arrivals from abroad 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.

(3rd LD) S. Korean chartered flight returns with 80 people evacuated from coronavirus-hit Iran
(ATTN: UPDATES with plane arrival; REVISES figures in 2nd para as corrected by government; ADDS more info in last three paras)

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

The Asiana Airlines plane, with 70 Koreans and 10 Iranian family members aboard, landed at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, at around 4:30 p.m., about eight hours after its takeoff from Dubai's Al Maktoum International Airport, the foreign ministry said.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks, won at more than 10-year lows amid extended market rout
(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks extended their freefall to a seventh consecutive session to hit their lowest level in 11 years on Thursday as panic selling sparked by the spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus continued. The Korean won also sharply dropped against the U.S. dollar to its lowest since 2009.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) crashed 133.56 points, or 8.39 percent, to close at 1,457.64. It sank below the 1,500 level to hit its lowest point since July 2009.

(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. extend defense cost-sharing talks in LA
(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States have decided to extend their latest defense cost-sharing talks in Los Angeles for another day, the foreign ministry said Thursday, after they wrapped up the second day of hard bargaining.

The extension came as Seoul and Washington hankered for an early deal to share the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops here, amid concerns that Korean employees in the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) could be furloughed next month absent a scheme to fund their wages.

(LEAD) S. Korea going all-out to stabilize financial market, support virus-hit small firms
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, additional remarks, more information from 6th para; ADDS photos)

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday unveiled an unprecedented and bold support program designed to help calm local financial markets roiled by the spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus, also vowing additional support down the road if necessary.

The financial support program, worth 50 trillion won (US$38.9 billion), centers around much needed support to small and medium-sized firms and people with low credit ratings, according to Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki.

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