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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 November 29, 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 to halt further easing of distancing rules amid spiking infections

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Monday that the government will halt a further easing of social distancing rules amid spiking COVID-19 infections, and speed up the administration of booster shots and secure more hospital beds over the next four weeks.

Moon made the remarks while presiding over a COVID-19 response meeting, making it clear that the government will not wind down its first-phase measures aimed at returning to normalcy despite a jump in serious cases and infections, and concerns about the omicron variant.

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Pandemic risk level in greater Seoul area jumps to highest level

SEOUL -- The risk level of the pandemic in South Korea's capital area over the past week has reached the highest level, health authorities said Monday, hinting no further easing of social distancing rules is in the offing.

Last week, South Korea introduced a new five-tier assessment system to evaluate the risk level of COVID-19 on a weekly basis that will be used to decide whether to further ease virus restrictions under its three-phase "living with COVID-19" scheme, which began on Nov. 1.

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(3rd LD) Military to start extra shot program for troops in late Dec. amid omicron variant fears

SEOUL -- South Korea's military plans to start giving extra COVID-19 vaccine jabs to troops in late December and is considering the booster shot program for overseas contingents, defense ministry officials said Monday, amid growing concerns about the omicron variant.

Boo Seung-chan, the ministry's spokesperson, said fully vaccinated troops will start receiving extra jabs in end-December, slightly earlier than the initial plan to start the extra shot scheme in January.

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Gov't to suspend arrivals of migrant workers with travel records to southern Africa

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to suspend arrivals of migrant workers with records of recent visits to southern African nations in order to block the inflow of the potentially more contagious omicron COVID-19 variant, officials said Monday.

The labor ministry's plan, which could affect the entry of manual workers from 16 Asian countries, is in line with the earlier restriction placed on foreign arrivals from eight African countries over concerns of the emerging virus variant first reported in Africa.

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(LEAD) Commercial autonomous vehicle service begins in Seoul

SEOUL -- Self-driving cars will begin operations as a means of public transportation for the first time in Seoul this week, the city government said Monday, signaling a new era for commercial autonomous vehicle services.

The Seoul metropolitan government said three self-driving passenger cars will start operating for ordinary citizens Tuesday in Sangam-dong, a western Seoul district designated as a pilot zone for autonomous cars.

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(LEAD) Stalking murder suspect appears in public, timidly apologizes

SEOUL -- A 35-year-old stalking murder suspect timidly apologized Monday as he appeared before the public eye for the first time since he was arrested and had his identity disclosed on suspicions of stalking and brutally killing his ex-girlfriend.

Kim Byung-chan stood in front of reporters and photographers as he was taken from Seoul Namdaemun Police Station to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office for a further investigation and indictment on the stalking murder charges.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down for 5th day amid virus woes

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks ended down for the fifth straight session on Monday as investors remained worried over the impact of the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus on the global economy. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 27.12 points, or 0.92 percent, to close at 2,909.32 points.

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