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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:00 April 01, 2022

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

(LEAD) Gov't to raise gathering size limit to 10, relax biz hour curfew to midnight

SEOUL -- The government decided Friday to raise the private gathering size limit to 10 people and relax the business hour curfew on restaurants and cafes to midnight, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said.

The new social distancing rules will go into effect Monday for two weeks.

Yoon delegation to depart for U.S. Sunday

SEOUL -- A delegation of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will leave for the United States on Sunday for a weeklong trip aimed at coordinating policy ahead of the launch of the new government, an official said Friday.

The seven-member delegation, led by Rep. Park Jin of Yoon's People Power Party, will hold meetings with U.S. government and congressional officials, as well as experts on alliance and security issues, Yoon's spokesperson, Kim Eun-hye, said.

55 pct expect Yoon to do good job: survey

SEOUL -- Fifty-five percent of South Koreans expect President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol to do a good job after taking office, a survey showed Friday.

The Gallup Korea survey of 1,001 adults conducted between Tuesday and Thursday also showed that 41 percent do not expect Yoon to do well on state affairs. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

U.S. closely monitoring N. Korea for additional provocation: State Dept.

WASHINGTON -- The United States is closely monitoring North Korea for future provocations, a Department of State spokesperson said Thursday, amid reports that the recalcitrant country may be preparing for a possible nuclear test.

Ned Price also said the U.S. and its allies will work to hold North Korea accountable for any new provocations.

N. Korea resumes construction activity at nuclear test site: report

WASHINGTON -- North Korea has recently resumed construction activity at an underground nuclear test site north of Pyongyang, which suggests a possible nuclear test down the road, a news report said Thursday, citing unidentified U.S. officials.

"North Korea has recently resumed digging tunnels and construction activities at its underground nuclear test site, according to five US officials," CNN reported.

(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases dip below 300,000 as omicron wave tops out

SEOUL -- South Korea's new daily COVID-19 cases dipped below 300,000 on Friday as the omicron wave that gripped the country for months appears to be topping out with one in every four people having had the virus.

The country reported 280,273 new COVID-19 infections, including 48 cases from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 13,375,818, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

BOK chief nominee says policy direction to be determined after analyzing current risks' impact on growth, inflation

SEOUL -- The nominee for South Korea's central bank chief said Friday that he will determine the direction of monetary policy after analyzing how existing risks, including the Ukraine crisis and the pandemic, will affect economic growth and inflation.

Rhee Chang-yong, picked for the next governor of the Bank of Korea (BOK) last week, made the remarks in a brief interview with reporters in Seoul as he prepares for a parliamentary confirmation hearing.

Inflation growth estimated to pick up in March amid high oil prices: official

SEOUL -- South Korea's consumer prices are estimated to have grown at a faster pace in March as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has driven up oil prices, a senior government official said Friday.

Inflationary pressure is likely to remain high for the time being as external economic uncertainty has heightened, according to First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon.

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