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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 December 18, 2020

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

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(2nd LD) Daily virus cases above 1,000 for 3rd day, toughest curbs still under review

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases topped the 1,000 mark for the third day Friday on continued cluster infections nationwide and increased tests, but health authorities remain cautious about adopting the toughest virus restrictions due to the far-reaching economic impact.

The country added 1,062 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,036 local infections, raising the total caseload to 47,515, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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(LEAD) S. Korea pushes to strike COVID-19 vaccine deals with Janssen, Pfizer this month

SEOUL -- South Korea said Friday it will push to sign COVID-19 vaccine procurement contracts with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen and Pfizer later this month and ink another deal with Moderna next month.

The health ministry last week said it has secured early access of the vaccines developed by four pharmaceutical companies and from a global vaccine project for 44 million people, enough to cover 88 percent of the nation's population.

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Gov't to make 'bold' decision on social distancing when necessary: PM

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Friday the government will thoroughly prepare for the potential toughening of social distancing restrictions and make a swift and "bold" decision when it's necessary.

"While making meticulous preparations, the government will make a bold decision at a time when (an elevation of the distancing rule) is deemed necessary," Chung said during an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic response at Seoul City Hall.

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Random testing finds 170 COVID-19 cases in capital area in 4 days

SEOUL -- The government's ongoing random testing, launched in the greater Seoul area at the beginning of this week, has identified 170 cases of COVID-19 so far, a government agency on the coronavirus pandemic said Friday.

In a bid to preemptively find "hidden infected people" through random testing, the government has been installing temporary coronavirus testing facilities at about 150 locations in the capital area, including Seoul City Hall and Seoul Station, since Monday. Those random testing centers will operate until Jan. 3.

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Celltrion inks supply agreement for COVID-19 test kit in U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korean biopharmaceutical giant Celltrion Inc. said Friday it has signed an agreement worth 240 billion won (US$220 million) to supply a diagnostic kit for the novel coronavirus in the United States.

Under the agreement, Celltrion's rapid antibody diagnostic test (RDT) kit for the new coronavirus, named DiaTrust, will be distributed by Prime Healthcare Distributors.

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S. Korea culls 6.1 mln poultry as farm-related bird flu cases reach 18

SEOUL -- South Korea has completed the culling of 6.1 million poultry nationwide to curb the nationwide spread of highly pathogenic bird flu, as the total farm-related caseload reached 18, the agricultural ministry said Friday.

The destroyed poultry included 4 million chickens and 1.2 million quails, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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'Dynamite' becomes 6th BTS music video to hit 700 mln YouTube views

SEOUL -- The music video of "Dynamite," K-pop superstar BTS' 2020 megahit song, has racked up 700 million views on YouTube, its agency said Friday.

The video surpassed the mark at around 9:41 p.m. Thursday, just four months after its release, according to Big Hit Entertainment.

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Spotify set to launch streaming service in Korea in 2021

SEOUL -- Global streaming giant Spotify said Friday it plans to launch a music streaming service in South Korea, home to the booming K-pop industry, in the first half of 2021.

It would give listeners here access to around 60 million tracks and over 4 billion playlists, according to the Swedish firm. It also expected the move to help Korean artists of various music genres to reach their fans here and abroad.
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