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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 April 09, 2020

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

(3rd LD) BOK stands pat after emergency rate cut, sees sharp slowdown amid virus fallout

SEOUL -- The Bank of Korea (BOK) on Thursday kept its policy rate frozen at an all-time low of 0.75 percent, citing the need to see the effect of steps already taken, but painted a grim growth outlook, forecasting "considerably" slower growth than earlier expected.

"Gross domestic product growth is projected to fall considerably below the February forecast of 2.1 percent, and uncertainties around the future path of GDP growth are also judged to be very high," the BOK said in its monetary policy decision statement.

(LEAD) S. Korea reports fewest virus cases since late Feb.

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday reported its fewest additional cases of the new coronavirus since late February, as the country is implementing an extended social distancing drive to fight against the virus pandemic.

The 39 new cases, detected Wednesday and down from 53 a day ago, brought the nation's total infections to 10,423, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Seoul extends expiring visas as pandemic continues

SEOUL -- South Korea has extended visas for foreigners set to expire soon to prevent them from visiting immigration offices amid the coronavirus pandemic, the justice ministry said Thursday.

Under the move, visas for around 60,000 registered foreign nationals that are set to expire by May 31 have been automatically extended by three months, the ministry said in a press release.

2-day early voting for April parliamentary elections to kick off Friday

SEOUL -- South Korea's election watchdog said Thursday the country will begin two days of early voting for the April 15 parliamentary elections the following day in the midst of the fight against the new coronavirus outbreak.

Eligible voters will be able to cast ballots at 3,508 polling stations nationwide from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Friday and Saturday, according to the National Election Commission (NEC).

Seoul stocks trim earlier gains late Thursday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks erased part of earlier gains late Thursday morning amid hopes that coronavirus infections around the globe are nearing a peak.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 18.83 points, or 1.04 percent, to 1,825.97 as of 11:20 a.m.

Satellite imagery suggests dummy missile test at N.K. shipyard: U.S. monitor

WASHINGTON -- Commercial satellite imagery suggests that North Korea recently conducted a dummy missile ejection test at its Sinpo shipyard, a U.S. monitor said Wednesday.

The April 5 imagery shows the service tower on the ejection test pad pulled back from its static position, according to 38 North.

(LEAD) S. Korea may suffer job losses amid pandemic: finance minister

SEOUL -- South Korea's job creation may suffer a decline, as the coronavirus pandemic has strained the country's economy and business activities, the nation's chief economic policymaker said Thursday.

"There is a possibility that unemployment may increase among part-time workers or small business owners," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said during a meeting with economy-related ministers.

Tourism sector reels from new coronavirus outbreak in February: data

SEOUL -- South Korea's tourism industry took a big hit from the novel coronavirus in February due to a reduction in both inbound and outbound tourism, industry data showed Thursday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy registered a tourism deficit of US$365.2 million in February, down from $927.6 million the previous month, according to the data from the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute.

8 in 10 people support electronic wristbands for self-isolators

SEOUL -- Nearly 8 in 10 South Koreans agree to the use of electronic wristbands to monitor people under self-quarantine as recently proposed by the government to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, a poll showed Thursday.

The poll of 500 adults nationwide, conducted Wednesday by Seoul-based pollster Realmeter, found 77.8 percent supported the proposal of requiring all people subject to two-week self-isolation, including new entrants from abroad, to wear electronic wristbands.

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