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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:03 December 14, 2020

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

(4th 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).

(LEAD) 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) 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.

(LEAD) Civic groups call for mobilization of private hospitals for COVID-19 patients

SEOUL -- Civic and labor groups on Monday urged the government to mobilize more beds and medical personnel from large private hospitals to cope with the worsening hospital bed shortage caused by a recent surge in coronavirus infections.

Public hospitals have received most local COVID-19 patients but have now reached the saturation point, as the number of newly confirmed cases hovers around 1,000 per day. Indeed, the number of available hospital beds in the greater Seoul area dedicated to severely ill coronavirus patients has been reduced to 13 as of Sunday, while more than 500 patients are waiting at home because they have not been assigned a bed at public hospitals or residential treatment centers for mild coronavirus cases.

(LEAD) Abrams says USFK will get COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's authorized

SEOUL -- The first batch of a coronavirus vaccine for U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is expected to be shipped to South Korea as soon as it is approved for emergency use, Gen. Robert Abrams said Monday.

The USFK commander made the remark in an interview with the American Forces Network radio station, saying the vaccine to be used for overseas U.S. personnel is likely to be Moderna's, though the U.S. has begun distributing Pfizer's vaccine across the country.

(LEAD) 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.



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