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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 17, 2020

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

(2nd LD) Distancing scheme in greater Seoul raised to Level 1.5 amid virus resurgence, effective Thursday

SEOUL -- The government decided Tuesday to raise the social distancing level by one notch to 1.5 in the greater Seoul area, amid a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in and around the capital.

The measure will go into effect starting Thursday in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, while it will take effect from Monday in Incheon, given relatively less severe COVID-19 outbreaks in the city.

(LEAD) New virus cases over 200 for 4th day; tougher virus curbs eyed in greater Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered above 200 for the fourth day in a row Tuesday due to continued cluster infections across the country, prompting health authorities to raise social distancing measures by one notch in the greater Seoul area.

The country added 230 more COVID-19 cases, including 202 local infections, raising the total caseload to 28,999, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Military strengthens social distancing rules in capital, Gangwon regions

SEOUL -- The military toughened the social distancing rules for units in the Seoul metropolitan area and the eastern province of Gangwon on Tuesday following a series of coronavirus infections reported in the regions.

A social distancing scheme of Level 1.5 will remain in place for the next two weeks at the units, under which troops are ordered to minimize events, business meetings and trips, with visits to nightlife facilities banned, according to the defense ministry.

Moon asks for public's cooperation to avoid further tightening of distancing rules

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the decision to enforce stricter distancing rules in the greater Seoul area starting this week was an "unavoidable" measure, while asking for the people's cooperation to help curb the latest resurgence of new COVID-19 cases.

"It may come as an inconvenience, but it was an unavoidable measure to prevent a further expansion (of new virus transmissions)," Moon said during a weekly Cabinet meeting held at Cheong Wa Dae.

N. Korea unlikely to ease border control 'for the time being': ministry official

SEOUL -- North Korea is unlikely to ease its border restrictions "for the time being" as it appears to remain on high alert against COVID-19 and to be seeking tougher preventive measures, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

On Monday, the North's state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un held a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and stressed the need to "keep a high alert, build a tight blocking wall and further intensify the anti-epidemic work."

IHO reaches agreement on identifying seas with numbers amid East Sea naming row

SEOUL -- The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has reached agreement on a proposal to mark global sea areas with unique numerical identifiers rather than specific names, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The consensus, likely to be finalized early next month, capped decades of diplomatic efforts by Seoul to revise the existing IHO guidelines referring to the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan only as the Sea of Japan, rather than the South Korean name East Sea.

S. Korea's lantern lighting fest likely to be listed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

SEOUL -- South Korea's lantern lighting festival, an event held to celebrate Buddha's birthday, is expected to be inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, the government said Tuesday.

The festival of lights, also called the Lotus Lantern Festival or "Yeon Deung Hoe" in Korean, was among the 25 successful applicants that were recommended by an intergovernmental assessment panel to be listed, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration.

S. Korean candidate hints at continuing bid for WTO top job

SEOUL -- South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee on Tuesday hinted that she may not shelve her bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Yoo has failed to drum up landslide support from the WTO's member countries to head the global trade body, with her Nigerian rival, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, standing ahead in a two-way race.

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