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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:30 March 20, 2020

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

(3rd LD) U.S. warns nearly half of Korean workers on bases to be furloughed

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- Nearly half of South Korean employees with U.S. Forces Korea will be furloughed next month unless the two sides reach a cost-sharing deal, the U.S. State Department said Friday, after the latest round of negotiations ended without an agreement.

Seoul's top negotiator, Jeong Eun-bo, and his U.S. counterpart, James DeHart, held a seventh round of talks in Los Angeles from Tuesday through Thursday to renew the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on splitting the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops on the peninsula. They were initially to meet for two days but extended their negotiation for another day.

(LEAD) Arrivals from Europe to face virus test, 2-week self-isolation

SEOUL -- South Korea will conduct new coronavirus tests on all arrivals from Europe and require them to self-isolate for two weeks as part of ongoing efforts to guard against imported cases of the novel coronavirus, the country's health authorities said Friday.

The measures, to be effective starting Sunday, are the latest in a series of stepped-up quarantine moves by the country amid growing concerns over a rise in imported virus cases.

Seoul stocks rebound 7 pct on currency swap deal with U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rebounded sharply on Friday as investors were buoyed by the currency swap deal between Seoul and Washington, snapping a freefall of seven consecutive sessions. The Korean won was also sharply up against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) soared 108.51 points, or 7.44 percent, to close at 1,566.17. Trading volume was high at 807 million shares worth 10.4 trillion won (US$8.41 billion), with gainers far outpacing losers 824 to 68.

(LEAD) Vice FM holds conference call with six countries over coronavirus response

SEOUL -- First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young held a conference call with his counterparts from six countries Friday, including the United States and Japan, to discuss ways to cope with the new coronavirus outbreak.

The talks, arranged at the U.S.' request, were joined by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba and Secretary Frances Adamson of Australia and the vice foreign ministers of New Zealand, India and Vietnam -- Mark Sinclair, Harsh Shringla and Bui Thanh Son, respectively.

(4th LD) S. Korea to quarantine passengers from Europe, new virus cases dip below 100 again

SEOUL -- South Korea recorded fewer than 100 new daily virus cases again on Friday, but health authorities remained on high alert over new cluster infections and imported cases. From Sunday, all passengers from Europe for long-term stay will face a 14-day quarantine regardless of symptoms.

The 87 new cases, which were detected Thursday, brought the nation's total number of infections to 8,652, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The daily infection rate has been in double digits this week, except for the 152 new cases reported Wednesday.

2.7 magnitude quake hits southeastern region

SEOUL -- A 2.7 magnitude earthquake hit the southeastern county of Sancheong, about 360 kilometers southeast of Seoul, Friday afternoon, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.

The quake occurred at 4:02 p.m., 13 kilometers east-southeast of Sancheong in South Gyeongsang Province, at a depth of 9 km, according to the KMA.

S. Korea renews calls for inter-Korean cooperation on coronavirus

SEOUL -- South and North Korea should work together to tackle infectious diseases as the issue is directly linked to health and survival of people on both sides, the unification ministry said Friday amid the global outbreak of the new coronavirus.

South Korea has repeatedly expressed its willingness to cooperate with the North in dealing with the coronavirus, but Pyongyang has given no response. The North has claimed through state media that the virus has not spread into the country.

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