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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:04 April 06, 2020

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

(LEAD) New virus infections fall below 50 for 1st time since late February

SEOUL -- South Korea recorded fewer than 50 new cases of the novel coronavirus Monday, marking the lowest number since late February, as the nation extended strict guidelines on social distancing.

South Korea has recorded around 100 or fewer daily new cases for more than three weeks, but health authorities remain on high alert over cluster infections at churches and hospitals, as well as new cases coming from overseas.

S. Korea expands free trade zones to promote exports amid virus pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it will expand the size of its free-trade zones to provide more leeway to businesses in line with efforts to boost slowing exports amid the global virus pandemic.

Under the plan, the size of the free trade zone of Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to South Korea, will expand around 10 percent to 3.3 square kilometers, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Vice Adm. Boo Suk-jong named new Navy chief

SEOUL -- Vice Adm. Boo Suk-jong, chief of the military support directorate at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was designated Monday as the new Navy chief after being promoted to the four-star rank, the defense ministry said.

Boo was tapped to replace Sim Seung-seob, who took office in July 2018, and President Moon Jae-in will officially appoint him following Cabinet deliberations on Tuesday, according to the ministry.

Moon's approval rating hits this year's high at 53.7 pct: Realmeter

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has ascended to this year's hightest of 53.7 percent, a poll showed Monday, amid a widespread view that his administration is coping effectively with the coronavirus.

In the five-day phone survey of 2,521 people nationwide, age 18 or older, through last Friday, Moon's popularity rose 1.1 percentage points from a week earlier, while the portion of those critical of his leadership fell 0.9 percentage point to 43.2 percent, according to Realmeter. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.

SsangYong to sell assets after parent Mahindra nixes rescue plan

SEOUL -- SsangYong Motor Co. said Monday it will sell non-core assets to stay afloat after its parent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. nixed its capital injection plan for the carmaker due to the growing impact of the coronavirus.

Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra said early this year it will inject 230 billion won (US$186 million) into SsangYong Motor for the following three years after obtaining approval from its board.

Rising virus cases in capital area put authorities on edge

SEOUL -- A continued rise in new virus cases in the capital Seoul and its surrounding areas is a wake-up call for health authorities, as the regions are home to half of the country's population, though daily new infections in the country are falling.

The total number of COVID-19 cases identified in Seoul, the surrounding Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, a port city just west of Seoul, has topped 1,200, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Ruling party, gov't push for abolishing statute of limitations for child sex crime

SEOUL -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the government have agreed to push for abolishing the statute of limitations for sex crime involving children and minors.

DP and government officials held a consultative meeting Sunday to discuss ways to strengthen the punishment of digital sex crime in response to a high-profile sex exploitation case at online chat rooms involving minors, widely known as the "Nth room case."

(LEAD) Taiwanese woman deported for refusing to stay at quarantine facility

SEOUL -- A Taiwanese woman has been deported from South Korea after refusing to stay at a quarantine facility, the justice ministry has said.

The woman, whose identity was withheld, was deported to Taiwan late Sunday after she disagreed with paying expenses to stay at a government-designated quarantine facility, according to the Ministry of Justice.

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