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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 February 22, 2021

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

(2nd LD) New virus cases in 300s again on fewer tests; cluster infections worrisome

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases dipped below 400 on Monday due to fewer tests over the weekend, but a series of cluster infections at plants and hospitals continued to pile up.

The country reported 332 more COVID-19 cases, including 313 local infections, raising the total caseload to 87,324, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Homegrown COVID-19 vaccine may be available early next year: minister

SEOUL -- South Korea could produce locally developed vaccines against the novel coronavirus early next year, the ICT minister said Monday, as the country seeks to prepare for a drawn-out fight against the pandemic.

Minister of Science and ICT Choi Ki-young said the government will continue to support development of local vaccines against the virus even though the country has secured enough vaccines from foreign pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Less than half of S. Koreans willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots immediately: poll

SEOUL -- Less than half of South Koreans are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots immediately, without waiting for further reports on those vaccines' effects, an opinion poll showed Monday.

In the survey conducted on 1,020 people aged 18 or over by the Korea Society Opinion Institute from last Friday to Saturday, only 45.8 percent said they are willing to be vaccinated "right away" when their turn for COVID-19 vaccine shots comes.

Defense minister vows to ensure safe vaccine inoculation

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Suh Wook ordered the military Monday to ensure safe distribution of coronavirus vaccines across the country as South Korea is set to launch vaccine administration later this week.

Suh made the remark during a videoconference with top commanders held to check the final preparations for the planned transport of COVID-19 vaccines and to decide on guidelines on carrying out the mission, according to the ministry.

(2nd LD) Foreign ministry calls in Japanese diplomat over Tokyo's renewed Dokdo claims

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry called in a Japanese diplomat in Seoul on Monday to lodge a protest over Japan's renewed claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

Kim Jung-han, the ministry's director general for Asian Pacific affairs, expressed regrets to Hirohisa Soma, deputy head of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, after the Japanese prefecture of Shimane held an annual event to publicize Japan's claim to the rocky outcroppings in the East Sea.

BTS most tweeted about musician in U.S. in 2020

SEOUL -- K-pop sensation BTS was the most tweeted about musician in the United States last year, the band's agency said Monday.

In a recent survey by Twitter, BTS topped the list of 2020 most tweeted about musicians in the U.S., followed by Kanye West, Beyonce and Drake, according to Big Hit Entertainment.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks retreat despite sound economic data

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks retreated below the 3,100-point mark Monday, erasing morning gains despite strong export data. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 27.87 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 3,079.75 points.

(LEAD) Moon's senior secretary entrusts decision on his resignation offer to the president: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's senior secretary for civil affairs and justice is likely to stay in the job at least for the time being despite his resignation offer that has grabbed public attention, according to Cheong Wa Dae on Monday.

Having returned from a four-day leave, Shin Hyun-soo has "entrusted" a decision on his letter of resignation to the president, Chung Man-ho, Moon's senior secretary for public communication, told reporters.

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