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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 December 14, 2020

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

(2nd LD) New virus infections under 1,000 on fewer tests; efforts extended to find more potential cases

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back below 1,000 on Monday on fewer tests over the weekend after topping the mark for the first time the previous day, with health authorities struggling to conduct more virus tests to rein in further spread.

The country added 718 more COVID-19 cases, including 682 local infections, raising the total caseload to 43,484, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

PM says 'cautious deliberation' required in elevating distancing scheme to top level

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday that implementing the toughest social distancing scheme requires careful examination despite increasing calls from experts and the public to raise the level to curb the fast growth of COVID-19 cases.

"(Implementing) the Level 3 social distancing scheme is the last resort that we can choose, and it requires cautious deliberation, as it calls for confidence and social consensus on its effectiveness," Chung said during a government meeting of top officials in charge of dealing with the pandemic.

(LEAD) Hundreds of special forces personnel mobilized to support virus fight

SEOUL -- More than 300 Special Warfare officers were dispatched to public health centers Monday to help with the government's handling of the new coronavirus, the Army said.

A total of 379 officers from the Army's Special Warfare Command were sent to 79 public health centers in Seoul and the surrounding areas to conduct diverse supporting roles, such as contact tracing, data management and transferring samples for virus tests for two months, according to the Army.

Auto exports dip 10 pct in Nov. amid virus jitters

SEOUL -- South Korea's auto exports dropped 10.2 percent on-year in November, falling at a faster pace compared with the previous month, amid the global resurgence of new coronavirus cases.

Local carmakers shipped a combined 190,657 units of automobiles overseas last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In terms of value, exports rose 2.1 percent to US$3.9 billion.

S. Korea on high alert over nationwide spread of bird flu

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it is speeding up efforts to cull poultry in areas affected by highly pathogenic bird flu amid growing concerns over the nationwide spread due to migratory birds.

The country has identified 13 highly pathogenic bird flu cases across the nation so far this year, with the latest case being reported at a chicken farm in Gimpo, located just west of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Kia workers continue strike for higher pay amid pandemic

SEOUL -- Unionized workers at Kia Motors Corp. will extend their partial strike this week to demand higher wages and bonuses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the union said Monday.

Daytime and night-duty workers will hold a four-hour strike daily at Kia's three domestic plants in Gwangmyeong and Hwaseong, both near Seoul, and Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, from Monday to Thursday and stage a six-hour walkout in the plants Friday, a union spokesman said.

Asiana decides on capital reduction to improve financial status

SEOUL -- Asiana Airlines Inc. said Monday it will cut its capital base to improve its financial status amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shareholders approved a 3:1 capital reduction plan as the airline's capital erosion rate reached 56.3 percent at the end of June, a company spokesman said.

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