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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:16 April 12, 2021

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

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(LEAD) Moon says S. Korea may face 'explosive' wave of coronavirus infections

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in warned Monday that South Korea may be drawn into an "explosive" wave of COVID-19 infections if it fails to contain the current phase of the pandemic.

"It's a perilous situation that could lead to an explosive pandemic if we let our guard down," he stressed during an emergency interagency meeting on responding to the coronavirus.

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(LEAD) Seoul mayor pushes for introduction of self-testing kits, extending hours for small businesses

SEOUL -- Newly elected Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said Monday the city will look for ways to allow small businesses, hurt by prolonged COVID-19 restrictions, to operate longer hours and asked the central government to approve COVID-19 self-testing kits to support the plan.

"Many neighborhood businesses, which are the backbone of Seoul's economy, have been collapsing. ... The fundamental solution is to allow them to run their businesses," Oh said during an online coronavirus briefing at the city government.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks inch up amid valuation pressure, KOSDAQ closes at 21-year high

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks inched up on Monday, as investors took to the sidelines amid increased valuation pressure and uncertainties from the Sino-American political friction. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.71 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 3,135.59.

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Mask mandate for all indoor spaces touches off controversy

SEOUL -- A tougher mask mandate that went into effect for all indoor public places nationwide on Monday is triggering a spate of controversy, as some people complain of inconvenience in their daily lives.

Beginning this week, mask wearing is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on public transportation, including trains, taxis and ships, at all times, under authorities' bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. The mask mandate also applies to rallies, performances and outdoor settings where at least two meters of social distancing is not possible.

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Gov't to launch task force to tackle population overcrowding in greater Seoul: interior minister

SEOUL -- The interior minister has said the government will launch an interagency task force this month to discuss measures to relieve the overcrowding of the greater Seoul area.

"(South Korea) needs measures to block any (further) inflows of the population into the capital area in order to tackle the current situation under which more than 50 percent of the total population is concentrated in the capital area," Minister of the Interior and Safety Jeon Hae-cheol said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency last Friday.

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(LEAD) S. Korea reaffirms no link between COVID-19 vaccinations and deaths

SEOUL -- South Korea's health authorities on Monday said there is no causal relation between COVID-19 vaccines and 11 reported deaths after vaccinations, assuring the public of the safety of the vaccines.

An investigation was concluded on 11 out of 47 people who died within days of receiving COVID-19 vaccines by AstraZeneca and Pfizer Inc, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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(LEAD) Korean battery makers rally after battery dispute settlement

SEOUL -- Shares of two Korean battery makers spiked Monday as they ended a two-year legal dispute over electric vehicle (EV) battery technology, which cleared uncertainty over their businesses.

On Sunday, LG Chem-owned LG Energy Solution Ltd. and SK Innovation Co. reached a last-minute settlement in a bitter U.S. trade dispute, just one day before an import ban on SK was to take effect.

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(3rd LD) New virus cases back under 600 on fewer tests; curbs extended amid spring resurgence

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell back below 600 for the first time in six days Monday partly due to fewer tests over the weekend, amid looming concerns over the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The country reported 587 more COVID-19 cases, including 560 local infections, raising the total caseload to 110,146, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
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