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South Korea ‘very grave’, says president Moon

South Korea ‘very grave’, says president  Moon
People wearing masks walk on a street in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday. (AP)
Seoul, Feb 25 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 2/25/2020 9:31:32 AM IST

Coronavirus cases approach 1,000

The novel coronavirus outbreak in South Korea is “very grave”, President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday as he visited its epicentre and the country’s total number of cases approached 1,000.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 144 new infections, taking the tally to 977, the largest national total anywhere outside China, where the virus first emerged.

Scores of events have been cancelled or postponed as the outbreak has spread in the world’s 12th-largest economy, from K-pop concerts to the start of the K-league football season, with casualties on Tuesday including parliamentary sessions and the World Team Table Tennis championships.

More than 80 percent of the infections have been in South Korea’s fourth-largest city Daegu and neighbouring North Gyeongsang province.

“The situation is very grave,” President Moon Jae-in said on a visit to Daegu, wearing the uniform of a government emergency official and vowing full government support.

“We will achieve a victory in the fight against this virus,” he added.

The streets of Daegu - which has a population of 2.5 million - have been largely deserted for days, apart from long queues at the few shops with masks for sale.

Authorities urged the public to exercise extra caution, advising citizens to stay home if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

South Korea’s parliament cancelled sessions Tuesday as it closed for cleaning after confirmation a person with the coronavirus had attended a meeting last week.

The country’s flag carrier Korean Air also reported a cabin crew member had tested positive, without giving details.

And the US hinted at scaling back joint military exercises, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper telling reporters in Washington the two allies’ militaries were “looking at scaling back the command post training due to concerns about the coronavirus”.

China’s coronavirus 

toll increases to 2,663

The coronavirus death toll in mainland China has increased to 2,663 with 77,658 confirmed cases, health authorities said on Tuesday.

The National Health Commission said that it received reports of 508 new cases and 71 deaths on Monday from 31 provincial-level regions on the mainland, reports Xinhua news agency.

Among the deaths, 68 were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, two in Shandong and one in Guangdong.

As of Monday, a total of 27,323 people have been discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by 789 to 9,126.

The Commission added that 2,824 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

Iran dy health minister has coronavirus

Iran’s deputy health minister has been infected with the new coronavirus, a ministry official said on Tuesday, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic. “The coronavirus test for Mr Harirchi, the deputy health minister who was on the front lines combating the coronavirus, was positive,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet.

Iraj Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei.

Iran confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections on Tuesday, taking the country’s overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95. 

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