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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 13, 2020

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

(LEAD) New virus cases spike to over 2-month high, tougher restrictions under review

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases spiked to almost 200 Friday, the highest in 70 days, as sporadic cluster infections from informal gatherings continued to pop up across the nation, forcing health authorities to consider raising the social distancing scheme.

The country added 191 more COVID-19 cases, including 162 local infections, raising the total caseload to 28,133, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

S. Koreans urged to wear masks or face new fine

SEOUL -- South Koreans taking the bus or subway to work Friday morning were greeted by public officials warning them of a 100,000 won (US$90) fine should they fail to wear a mask in public.

In a country that has received widespread praise for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, most people were already wearing a mask and did not need to be told to do so.

(LEAD) PM hints at tougher distancing guidelines amid spike in virus cases

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Friday the government "may have to seriously consider" toughening social distancing measures, citing alarming increases in new daily COVID-19 cases.

"The warning light for disease control has lit up. If the current growth trend continues, (we) may have to seriously consider raising the (social) distancing level," Chung said during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters at the government complex in Seoul.

(LEAD) 11 more military personnel test positive for COVID-19

SEOUL -- Three Army officers, an Air Force civilian worker and seven airmen have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the defense ministry said Friday.

The airmen and the civilian employee in Seosan, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 after a guest lecturer who visited their base earlier this week tested positive for the virus, according to the ministry.

(LEAD) Economic uncertainty persists amid global flare-up in coronavirus cases: finance ministry

SEJONG -- The South Korean economy is on a recovery path, but it faces lingering uncertainty amid a global resurgence in new coronavirus cases, the finance ministry said Friday.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said South Korea's exports are on a mild recovery track and the country's production, consumption and investment are improving.

Moon congratulates U.S. congressional leaders, asks for alliance support

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in has formally congratulated U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other key American congressional figures for their recent election wins, requesting their continued support for the Seoul-Washington alliance, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

In congratulatory telegrams, Moon expressed thanks to the U.S. congressional leadership and Korea-related organizations for their interest and support toward the alliance, according to Moon's office.

Ruling party chief asks Biden admin to keep 2018 deal between Kim Jong-un, Trump

SEOUL -- The ruling party chairman expressed hope Friday that a 2018 deal signed between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump will be retained under the incoming U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden.

"I wish that South Korea and the U.S. will work together to reactivate the Korean Peninsula peace process," Rep. Lee Nak-yon, the chairman of Democratic Party, said during a top party council meeting.

Apple, S. Korean mobile carriers start preorders for new iPhones

SEOUL -- Apple Inc. and three South Korean mobile carriers began taking preorders Friday for the iPhone 12 mini and the 12 Pro Max.

The U.S. tech giant said the smallest and the largest versions of its latest generation smartphone will go on sale in South Korea starting Nov. 20.

S. Korea completes deployment of K-9 howitzer

SEOUL -- South Korea has completed the deployment of the K-9 self-propelled howitzer, about 20 years after it was first put into force in the country, the arms procurement agency said Friday.

Manufactured by Hanwha Defense, a South Korean defense firm, the 155-millimeter K-9 artillery gun was first deployed on the western border islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong in 1999.

(Yonhap Feature) Rising popularity of car camping results in SUV sales boost

SEOUL -- Kim Young-rim loves to travel abroad, but she had to give up her holiday plan this year due to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.

The outgoing interior designer recently bought a Ford Explorer, a seven-seat sports utility vehicle (SUV), from a local used car dealer, and hit the road with her husband on the same day she made the purchase.

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