Wed, 01 Apr 2020

South Korea on Highest Alert Against Coronavirus

Voice of America
23 Feb 2020, 22:05 GMT+10

South Korea has raised its alert level for the coronavirus disease to the highest level.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged officials to not hesitate to take "unprecedented powerful measures" to contain the outbreak.

Moon made the comments as authorities reported 123 more cases Sunday, raising the total to 556 with five deaths.

South Korea's prime minister said the coronavirus in his country had entered a "more grave stage" as the new cases of the disease were reported Sunday.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun made the remark late Saturday in a nationally televised address. He said Seoul is making all-out efforts to contain the further spread of the disease.

US travel advisory

Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of the 123 new cases reported Sunday, 113 were in the fourth-largest city, Daegu, and surrounding areas. South Korea now has 556 reported coronavirus cases with five deaths. South Korea is testing 6,039 other people for the virus.

Also Saturday, the U.S. State Department issued travel advisories for Japan and South Korea because of the coronavirus outbreak, urging travelers to "exercise increased caution" if visiting those countries.

The State Department statement said a Level 2 advisory means travelers should avoid contact with sick people and practice basic hygiene, such as washing their hands often to guard against contracting the disease.

China reported 648 new infections Sunday, for a total of 76,936. It said 97 more people had died, raising the death toll in the country to 2,442.

Outside China, more than 1,200 people have been infected with the virus and more than a dozen have died.

Beyond China

In Southern California, a federal judge issued a restraining order to prevent the U.S. government from sending 50 people infected with the coronavirus to Costa Mesa, a city of about 100,000 people. A hearing will be held Monday.

The death toll in Iran rose to six. Italy said two people have died, and said a cluster of coronavirus cases triggered a lock down of about a dozen towns in several northern regions of the country. Italian authorities said Saturday there are about 54 cases in the country.

Samsung Electronics on Saturday confirmed a case of coronavirus at its mobile device factory in Gumi, South Korea. The plant has been shut down and is expected to remain closed until Monday morning; the floor where the infected person worked will not reopen until Tuesday, according to media reports.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was concerned about new cases of the virus in Iran after an Iranian traveler carried the virus to Lebanon, and another traveler spread the virus from Iran to Canada.

Iranian health officials reported Sunday that six people have died from the virus, making it the highest death toll outside of China. Iran has reported 28 cases of people sickened with COVID-19.

Iran said Saturday it has suspended religious pilgrimages to Iraq during the coronavirus surge.

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