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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:48 July 22, 2020

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

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(2nd LD) Cluster infections, imported cases push new virus cases above 60
(ATTN: ADDS details throughout; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL -- South Korea's new daily virus cases rebounded to over 60 on Wednesday due to a rise in locally transmitted infections and imported cases, with the greater Seoul seeing a sharp increase in virus cases tied to a nursing home and a front-line military unit.

The country identified 63 new cases, raising the total caseload to 13,879, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the newly added cases, 29 were local infections.

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(3rd LD) At least 13 Army soldiers infected with coronavirus at front-line unit
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with latest figures)

SEOUL -- At least 13 Army soldiers have tested positive for the new coronavirus at a front-line unit, officials said Wednesday, forcing all other members of the 220-strong unit to go into quarantine amid concerns over the possibility of more infections.

Two soldiers at the unit in Pocheon, some 45 kilometers north of Seoul, tested positive for the virus Tuesday after showing fever symptoms the previous day. All other members of the unit then went through testing and 11 were found to have the virus after contact with the confirmed patients.

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U.N. expert requests meeting with unification ministry amid concerns over leafleting

SEOUL -- A United Nations special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has requested a meeting with the unification ministry, a ministry official said Wednesday, amid reports the rapporteur is concerned about South Korea's measures to restrict the activities of defector groups.

Tomas Ojea Quintana voiced concerns over the South Korean government's measures against North Korean defector groups and said he would get in touch with Seoul to request information, in an interview with Voice of America and Radio Free Asia on Wednesday (local time).

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Seoul shares trade tad higher late Wednesday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded in positive terrain late Wednesday morning, but upward momentum remained weak on investors' profit-taking following a sharp gain in the previous session over economic recovery hopes.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.36 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,235.19 as of 11:20 a.m.

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(3rd LD) Esper says he has issued no orders to withdraw forces from S. Korea
(ATTN: UPDATES with Pentagon spokesman's comments, details in paras 6-8, 11)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday he has issued no orders to withdraw troops from South Korea but will continue to look at adjustments to deployments worldwide.

Esper's remark follows a news report that the Pentagon presented the White House with options to reduce troop levels in South Korea in March.

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S. Korea to roll back ban on small church gatherings amid subsiding infections

SEOUL -- The government will lift its ban on small church gatherings other than regular worship services this week as new COVID-19 cases linked to such gatherings have subsided in recent weeks, the prime minister said Wednesday.

The tougher anti-infection rules on Protestant churches will be cleared on Friday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said during a regular government coronavirus response meeting.

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