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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:06 March 24, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Moon pledges 100 tln won of emergency funding for virus-stricken business sector

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in unveiled plans Tuesday to double the size of his administration's emergency-financing aid package to 100 trillion won (US$80 billion) for businesses here under growing stress from the coronavirus pandemic, and he announced a set of special funds to stabilize South Korea's bond and securities markets.

He stressed that the government would serve as a "stout breakwater" to prevent the huge crisis facing the nation's firms, speaking at the second session of the emergency economic council.

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(2nd LD) New virus cases on downhill as imported infections accelerate

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases appeared to be on a downhill Tuesday, but imported infections marked the biggest one-day increase as the nation enforced quarantines on arrivals from Europe and other regions.

The 76 new cases, which were detected Monday and slightly up from 64 new cases a day earlier, brought the nation's total infections to 9,037, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The death toll rose by nine to 120.

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Allies considering holding defense cost talks via videoconferencing amid virus concerns: official

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States are looking into the possibility of continuing defense cost-sharing talks via video links without meeting in person amid coronavirus concerns, officials said Tuesday.

Last week, the two sides held the latest round of negotiations in Los Angeles to work out a new defense cost deal, known as the Special Measures Agreement, that determines how much South Korea should pay for the upkeep of about 28,500 American troops stationed in the country.

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(LEAD) Men's basketball league cancels season due to coronavirus

SEOUL -- The South Korean men's pro basketball season came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, with the coronavirus outbreak forcing a premature finish for the first time in the league's 23-year history.

The Korean Basketball League (KBL) announced Tuesday that the rest of its regular season and playoffs will be scrapped. The largely expected decision was reached during the league's meeting with representatives from its 10 teams.

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Trump calls for protecting Asian-Americans after using term 'Chinese virus'

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that Asian Americans should be protected amid reports of racist attacks fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump's expression of support comes after he has repeatedly used the term "Chinese virus" despite criticism it encourages racism.

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Stricter containment steps necessary for U.S. arrivals: experts

SEOUL -- While South Korea has been implementing strict quarantine measures against arrivals from Europe, there are also growing calls that the country needs to apply stepped-up quarantine steps such as virus tests on passengers coming from the United States, medical experts said Tuesday.

South Korea in recent weeks has been focusing on stemming imported virus cases after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization earlier this month.

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Asiana unveils additional self-help plans amid virus woes

SEOUL -- Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea's second-biggest airline, on Tuesday unveiled additional self-rescue measures as the spreading coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc on its business.

Asiana Airlines has already suspended most of its flights on international routes as an increasing number of countries close their borders or impose stricter entry restrictions in their fight against COVID-19.

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S. Korean daily box office drops to record low on Monday

SEOUL -- The daily number of moviegoers in South Korea dropped to a record low out of fear of the novel coronavirus, data showed Tuesday.

According to the data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), 25,873 people went to cinemas on Monday, the smallest daily figure since January 2004 when KOFIC started to compile local box office data.
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