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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 April 10, 2020

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

Moon cautiously expects end to strict social distancing drive amid quarantine progress

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Friday South Korea is facing watershed days ahead in the fight against the coronavirus, cautiously setting his sights on ending the national social distancing campaign before long.

He was encouraged by health authorities' reports that not a single COVID-19 infection was confirmed in Daegu the previous day. The city of 2.4 million residents, located 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was once the epicenter of the nation's COVID-19 outbreak. The daily number of new patients peaked at 741 on Feb. 29 and has reached a plateau recently.

Moon, Gates agree on coronavirus vaccines, treatment in phone talks

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates agreed Friday to expand cooperation in efforts to develop vaccines and treatments against the new coronavirus during their phone talks, Cheong Wa Dae said.

In their 25-minute conversation, made at Gates' request, they focused on ways to tackle COVID-19 sweeping through the world. Leading the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for philanthropic campaigns, Gates has been striving to help the international community overcome the virus crisis.

(LEAD) Unfazed by virus scare, S. Koreans hit polls as early voting begins

SEOUL -- Voters wearing face masks and disposable gloves cast their ballots on Friday, with a number of people queuing in front of polling places near their offices at lunchtime.

Having successfully slowed the spread of coronavirus infections recently, South Korea has gone ahead with the quadrennial elections, slated for next Wednesday, to fill the 300-seat unicameral National Assembly.

Samsung BioLogics inks manufacturing deal for coronavirus treatment

SEOUL -- Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea's Samsung Group, said Friday that it has clinched a US$362 million deal to manufacture a candidate treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Under the deal, Samsung BioLogics will start full-scale production of U.S. drug firm Vir Biotechnology's candidate COVID-19 treatment that is known to be very powerful in neutralizing the virus.

(LEAD) KB Financial buys Prudential Financial's Korean unit for 2.26 tln won

SEOUL -- KB Financial Group, a major South Korean banking group, on Friday signed a 2.26 trillion-won(US$1.86 billion) deal to acquire U.S.Prudential Financial Inc.'s South Korean operations to strengthen its non-banking business.

KB Financial said in a regulatory filing that it acquired an entire stake in Prudential Life Insurance Co. of Korea Ltd. from the U.S. insurance company.

91 recovered virus patients test positive again: KCDC

SEOUL -- More than 90 people who fully recovered from the novel coronavirus have tested positive for COVID-19 again, health authorities here said Friday.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said a total of 91 people had tested positive for the new coronavirus after they were released from quarantine.

A fifth of overseas missions forced to count votes abroad due to coronavirus

SEOUL -- A fifth of South Korea's overseas missions that administered absentee voting for the parliamentary elections will have to count ballots on their own because they cannot send ballots home due to border controls prompted by the coronavirus, the National Election Commission (NEC) said Friday.

A total of 40,858 South Koreans living abroad had cast their ballots at 85 diplomatic missions for six days from April 1 ahead of the April 15 elections.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on U.S. stimulus measure

SEOUL -- South Korean shares ended higher for the second straight session Friday on improved investor sentiment over the United States' latest stimulus effort meant to minimize the economic fallout from the new coronavirus. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 24.49 points, or 1.33 percent, to 1,860.70.

Football legend's son given suspended sentence for drunk driving

SEOUL -- South Korean football legend Cha Bum-kun's second son Cha Se-jji, indicted for causing a traffic accident while drunk driving last December, was given a suspended sentence Friday.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced the junior Cha to 1 1/2 years in prison with a stay of execution for three years after finding him guilty of dangerous driving.

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