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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 March 30, 2020

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

(5th LD) S. Korea wary of cluster, imported infections amid sign of declining new cases

SEOUL -- South Korea saw a slight decline in new coronavirus cases Monday, but cluster infections in Seoul and other regions continued to emerge, coupled with a rise in cases involving arrivals from overseas.

The 78 new COVID-19 cases, detected Sunday and down from 105 new cases a day earlier, brought the nation's total infections to 9,661 and marked the 18th consecutive day that new infections have hovered around 100 or fewer additional cases, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(2nd LD) Concerns over new infections grip capital area

SEOUL -- New infections reported in the wider Seoul area surpassed those in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak here, on Monday, spurring concerns over transmission in the capital area that is home to half of the South Korean population.

New COVID-19 infections reported in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon totaled 31, bringing the total number of cases in the metropolitan area to 947, according to data compiled by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

S. Korea preparing routine daily quarantine steps for possible prolonged pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korea is bracing for the possibility of a prolonged novel coronavirus pandemic as it plans to unveil guidelines for citizens to carry out quarantine measures as part of their daily routines.

Public health authorities said Monday said that a social dialogue body will be formed this week involving experts to discuss quarantine steps that can be taken in everyday life.

(3rd LD) S. Korea to grant 'disaster relief money' for households, vows extra budget plan

SEOUL -- The South Korean government will grant "emergency disaster relief money" to a majority of the country's households in a one-off stimulus program to help with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, President Moon Jae-in said Monday.

He also unveiled a plan to seek another supplementary budget to finance the massive aid package during a third session of the emergency economic council at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

(LEAD) S. Korea seeks extra budget for aid to virus-hit families

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it will push for a second extra budget worth 7.1 trillion won (US$5.8 billion) to provide shopping coupons and gift certificates to more than half of the country's households to help minimize the economic fallout from the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak.

The government said it would set aside 9.1 trillion won for the relief package for 14

Gov't reconfirms S. Korean-made virus test kits can be exported to U.S.

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry reconfirmed Monday that three South Korean coronavirus test kits can be exported to the United States as they were given pre-emergency use authorization numbers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Saturday, the foreign ministry issued a press release that the three unidentified companies have gained preapproval in the FDA's emergency use authorization (EUA) process and that their diagnostic devices can be sold in the U.S. market.

S. Korean chartered flight departs for virus-hit Italy to bring citizens home

SEOUL -- A South Korean government-chartered plane departed for coronavirus-hit Italy on Monday to bring home hundreds of citizens, amid growing concerns over their safety in the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe.

The plane, bound for Milan, is one of the two flights that the Seoul government has arranged to bring about 530 citizens back to Korea. The other flight is expected to depart here for Rome on Tuesday.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks almost flat, won sharply down

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished almost unchanged Monday paring earlier losses on new stimulus measures aimed at minimizing the fallout from the spread of the new coronavirus. The local currency dropped sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 0.61 point, or 0.04 percent, to close at 1,717.12. Trading volume was high at 753 million shares worth 8.97 trillion won (US$7.32 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 615 to 256.

Samsung chairman's daughter questioned in propofol probe

SEOUL -- Lee Boo-jin, the eldest daughter of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, was recently questioned by police over her alleged use of propofol, police said Monday.

"(Police) probed Lee on the morning of March 22 over allegations of her propofol use," an official at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency told reporters, without elaborating further.

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