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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:08 April 03, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korea's virus infections top 10,000 as cluster, imported cases rise

SEOUL -- South Korea's coronavirus cases topped 10,000 on Friday amid a slowdown in new infections, but Seoul and the surrounding areas reported a continued rise in virus infections due to a steady rise in mass infections and imported cases.

The 86 new cases of COVID-19, detected Thursday and slightly down from 89 new cases a day earlier, brought the country's total cases to 10,062 and marked the 22nd 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) Nearly half of new virus cases reported in capital area, raising alert

SEOUL -- Almost half of the new virus cases reported in South Korea on Friday were those in Seoul and surrounding areas, raising concerns over mass transmission in the area that is home to half of the country's population.

The country reported 86 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 10,062, according to the data by the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(2nd LD) Some 100 S. Koreans return home from coronavirus-hit Morocco

SEOUL -- About 100 South Koreans returned home from coronavirus-hit Morocco on Friday on a special flight that the North African nation arranged to transport medical items from South Korea.

Morocco had originally planned to send a cargo plane to South Korea to pick up the medical supplies related to COVID-19, but King Mohammed VI agreed to switch to a passenger jet at Seoul's request so as to help South Koreans in the country return home, officials said.

Officials from S. Korea, Germany to hold videoconference on coronavirus response

SEOUL -- South Korean officials will hold a videoconference with their German counterparts Friday to share the country's experience in battling the new coronavirus, a foreign ministry official said.

The session, set to begin at 5 p.m. (Korea time), comes after the German government voiced hope to send a delegation to take a first-hand look at South Korea's containment efforts, which have recently gained international recognition due to a slowdown in new COVID-19 cases and a relatively low fatality rate.

(LEAD) USFK reports 2 additional virus cases, total at 17

SEOUL -- Two American citizens working for the U.S. Forces Korea tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, USFK said, bringing the total number of infections among its population to 17.

One of the contractors works at Osan Air Base and the other at Camp Humphreys, both located in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, USFK said, adding that they are currently in isolation at their respective off-base residences.

(LEAD) USFK commander's Twitter post draws criticism amid furloughs over tough defense cost talks

SEOUL -- U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams has drawn criticism over a tweet that appeared to mock South Korea for hastily expecting a deal in defense cost-sharing negotiations between the two countries.

On Thursday evening, Abrams retweeted a dictionary explanation of the traditional Korean idiom "to drink kimchi broth," saying he had just learned the expression "Don't eat your kimchi stew before the time is right," which means "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

(LEAD) N. Korean defectors arriving in S. Korea plunge amid coronavirus fears

SEOUL -- The number of North Korean defectors who entered South Korea dropped sharply on-year during the first quarter, data showed Friday, amid Pyongyang's tightened border control over global coronavirus fears.

According to the data provided by the unification ministry, a total of 135 North Korean defectors arrived in South Korea during the January-March period, compared with 229 arrivals during the same period of last year.

(LEAD) Airlines call for immediate gov't support amid growing virus impact

SEOUL -- South Korean airlines pressed the government Friday to take immediate action to help the financially troubled airline industry stay afloat amid the growing coronavirus impact.

The Korea Civil Aviation Association (KCA) asked the government to offer massive low-rate loans, payment guarantees for airlines' corporate bonds and steep tax cuts to airlines as the airlines' self-rescue measures won't be of a big help in the unprecedented crisis.

(LEAD) Korean stocks close nearly flat, won sinks

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks closed nearly flat Friday as a recovery in global oil prices boosted investor sentiment against the new coronavirus pandemic. The local currency dropped against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 0.58 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,725.44. Trading volume was high at some 986 million shares worth a little over 1 trillion won (US$811 million), with gainers outnumbering losers 506 to 328.

Foreigners extend stock selling streak to 22nd straight session

SEOUL -- Foreign investors on Friday continued to sell local stocks for a 22nd consecutive session amid the coronavirus scare, fueled by a rise in the latest U.S. unemployment figures, data showed.

Offshore investors offloaded a net 289.4 billion won (US$235 million) worth of local stocks on Friday.

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