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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 16:59 December 31, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korea to decide level of virus curbs this week amid no letup in virus resurgence

SEOUL -- South Korea said Thursday it will decide this week whether to raise the social distancing scheme to the highest level or maintain the current second-highest measures amid no signs of a letup in the coronavirus resurgence.

The country's new virus infections fell below 1,000 Thursday for the first time in three days but the level of new cases remains still high due mainly to cluster infections from churches, private gatherings and other facilities.

(2nd LD) COVID-19 cases at Seoul prison reach 918, another inmate dies at separate facility

SEOUL -- Coronavirus cases tied to a Seoul detention center rose by 126 on Thursday, sending the total to over 900, while another inmate died of COVID-19 complications at a separate facility.

The justice ministry said 126 inmates at Dongbu Detention Center in southeastern Seoul tested positive during the prison's fourth mass testing Wednesday, bringing the total to 918, including 21 staff members. No additional workers tested positive this round.

(2nd LD) Moon picks former Science Minister You Young-min as chief of staff

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in has tapped You Young-min, a former science and technology minister, as his new chief of staff, Cheong Wa Dae announced Thursday.

You, known for his IT expertise from decades of experience in a related corporate sector, is succeeding Noh Young-min, who tendered his resignation the previous day following a two-year stint.

USFK-affiliated S. Korean civilians, troops begin getting COVID-19 vaccinations

SEOUL -- South Korean civilian workers and troops affiliated with the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) began getting COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday, the U.S. military said, becoming the country's first citizens to get inoculated against the virus.

The first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for USFK members arrived in South Korea last week, and the command began administering its initial doses to front-line health care workers, first responders and its command team.

(LEAD) N. Korea's rare party congress appears imminent as delegates arrive in Pyongyang

SEOUL -- North Korean delegates participating in an upcoming congress of the ruling Workers' Party have gathered in Pyongyang and were awarded certificates, state media said Thursday, raising the possibility that the meeting could take place as early as this week.

The upcoming session, which will be the first party congress in four years, has drawn keen attention as the North is expected to unveil a new economic development plan and could announce its new policy line on the United States and South Korea.

(LEAD) BTS wins special award at Japan Record Awards

SEOUL-- BTS has become the inaugural winner of a special category at the Japan Record Awards hosted by Japanese broadcaster TBS, the band's agency said Thursday.

The septet won the Special International Music Award at the 62nd Japan Record Awards that was broadcasted live late Wednesday, according to Big Hit Entertainment.

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