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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 18, 2020

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

S. Korea faces another potential virus spike as infections near 3-month high

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered above 300 on Wednesday to reach the highest level since late August, setting alarm bells ringing over another potential wave of the pandemic.

The country added 313 more COVID-19 cases, including 245 local infections, raising the total caseload to 29,311, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Greater Seoul, Gwangju adopt tougher distancing rules amid virus flare-up concerns

SEOUL -- Citizens in the greater Seoul area and southern city of Gwangju will be required to follow stricter health regulations in public places and at gatherings under an enhanced social distancing scheme effective from Thursday, as the country is facing another potential flare-up of the new coronavirus.

Social distancing was raised by one notch to Level 1.5 in Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, where the average daily cases surpassed 100 in the previous week, the threshold for the second-lowest level of the five-tier scheme.

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S. Korean drug firms ink major COVID-19 vaccine, treatment manufacturing deals

SEOUL-- A number of major South Korean pharmaceutical companies have recently signed a series of deals to manufacture vaccines and treatment drugs for the novel coronavirus, industry watchers said Wednesday.

Among the front-runners is industry leader Samsung Biologics Co., which successfully inked two contract manufacturing organization (CMO) agreements this year.

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S. Korean, U.S. armies stage combined training exercises in California

SEOUL -- Dozens of South Korean troops visited a U.S. military training center in California and staged combined training exercises with American service members, officials said Wednesday.

Around 50 Army members, including those from a reconnaissance unit, carried out various joint maneuvers with the U.S. troops at the U.S. Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC) for about a month from mid-October, according to the officials.

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Seoul stocks trade slightly higher on bio gains amid virus flare-up

SEOUL -- South Korean shares traded slightly higher late Wednesday morning on an advance in bio stocks amid concerns over the flare-up of new coronavirus outbreaks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.1 point, or 0.12 percent, to 2,542.25 as of 11:20 a.m.

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Korean Air chief vows no job cuts in Asiana acquisition

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest carrier, will proceed with the deal to acquire its smaller local rival Asiana Airlines Inc. without job cuts, the company's chairman said Wednesday.

"The company made a decision to acquire (Asiana Airlines) to make a contribution to the development of the country's airline industry," Korean Air Chairman Cho Won-tae told reporters after attending a South Korea-U.S. business leaders' meeting in Seoul.

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Growing COVID-19 cases deepen worries over potential disruption to college entrance exam

SEOUL -- A recent surge in coronavirus cases has increased anxiety about whether the national college entrance exam, the biggest academic event of the year, can be held safely in South Korea next month.

Education authorities are on high alert ahead of the Dec. 3 event, having postponed the exam, originally slated for Nov. 19, in late March, when the country was hit by the first wave of the pandemic.

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Residents' FX deposits hit record high in Oct.

SEOUL -- Foreign currency deposits at banks in South Korea rose to a record high in October as exporters raised dollar holdings amid the country's improving exports, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Outstanding foreign currency-denominated deposits held by residents amounted to US$93.32 billion as of end-October, up $7.87 billion from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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No. of holding companies in S. Korea declines in 2020

SEOUL -- The number of holding companies in South Korea declined this year from a year earlier due largely to a fall in mid-sized holding firms, the country's antitrust regulator said Wednesday.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said a total of 167 holding companies were registered with the country's antitrust regulator as of end-September, down from 173 the previous year.

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Dinos' maligned bullpen comes through in Korean Series Game 1 victory

SEOUL -- The bullpen that had at times trouble keeping opponents off the board this year came through Tuesday night, as the NC Dinos rode their relievers to a 5-3 victory over the Doosan Bears in Game 1 of the Korean Series.

After starter Drew Rucinski went 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs, the Dinos sent out five relievers to get the last 11 outs while only allowing one inherited runner to score.
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