Headlines, February 28, 2020
Headlines, February 28, 2020
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.02.28 10:18
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Friday, February 28, 2020

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today

The Korea Post

Korea's virus cases top 1,700 on surge in infected church followers
South Korea reported yet another record spike of new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, with most new infections identified in the hardest-hit city of Daegu as virus tests started on more than 210,000 members of a religious sect at the center of the epidemic. The 505 new cases, marking the sharpest daily spike yet and outnumbering the 433 new cases reported in China, where the virus originated, earlier in the day, took the nation's total infections to 1,766, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Daegu's virus infections top 1,000, most linked to Shincheonji religious group
The cumulative number of novel coronavirus cases in the southeastern city of Daegu surpassed 1,000 on Thursday, data showed, with the increases likely to continue for a while as more test results of citizens who are followers of the virus-hit Shincheonji religious group are being released. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said a total of 1,766 people were infected with the COVID-19 virus in South Korea as of 4 p.m., up a whopping 505 from a day earlier.

Korea's Jan. industrial output edges up, virus fallout in store to hit hard
South Korea's overall industrial output rose in January, but the rapid spread of the new coronavirus is widely expected to have an impact on industrial activities this month, data showed on Friday. The country's overall industrial output gained 0.1 percent last month from a month earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.


KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

Shanghai Provides S. Korea with 500,000 Face Masks
Shanghai has provided face masks to South Korea’s government, asking that they be sent to people in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, which have emerged as hotbeds of COVID-19 infections in the nation. According to South Korea’s Consulate General in Shanghai on Thursday, a senior official of the Shanghai municipal government’s foreign affairs office visited the consulate general and delivered 500-thousand face masks, including 100-thousand medical masks.

IMF Likely to Downgrade Global Economic Growth Outlook Due to Virus
The International Monetary Fund(IMF) is likely to downgrade its global economic growth forecast. IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said Thursday that the IMF is likely to downgrade its growth projections for the world as the fast-spreading novel coronavirus will have an impact on global economic growth.

Gov't Obtains List of All Shincheonji Followers
The government says it has received a list of preliminary and overseas followers from the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. The central disaster and safety countermeasures headquarters said Thursday that it acquired a list of the church’s overseas followers of some 33-thousand. As result, the government now has names and contact for a total of some 310-thousand followers, including some 65-thousand people who are on Shincheonji's training courses to become official members.


Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

U.S. State Department urges Americans to reconsider travel to S. Korea
The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for South Korea to the second-highest level Wednesday, urging Americans to reconsider travel over concerns about the coronavirus. The travel advisory was raised by one notch to Level 3 on a four-tier scale, according to its website. Level 4 advises Americans not to travel to the designated country. The measure came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier Wednesday that it is not the right time to restrict travel to and from South Korea.

China, 13 more countries restrict travel from S. Korea over coronavirus concerns
More than a dozen additional countries and parts of China have enacted entry restrictions on travelers from South Korea over coronavirus concerns, according to the foreign ministry Thursday, bringing the total number of such countries to 43. The U.S. State Department has raised its travel warning for South Korea by one notch to Level 3, the second-highest on a four-tier scale. Level 4 advises people not to travel to the designated country. The U.S. has not put any entry restrictions from travelers from South Korea, however.

S. Korea, U.S. decide to postpone upcoming combined exercises over coronavirus concerns: CFC
South Korea and the United States decided to postpone their springtime joint military exercises over growing concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, their combined command said Thursday. The two sides had initially planned to stage their computer-simulated combined command post training in March but decided to put it off "until further notice" in light of Seoul's decision to raise its alert rating to "severe," the highest level, over COVID-19, according to the Combined Forces Command (CFC).


The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

Daegu battles shortage of hospital beds, medical personnel
South Korea’s southeastern city of Daegu, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak here, faces a lack of hospital beds and medical personnel as the country saw another spike in infections Thursday. A 73-year-old man, the 13th casualty from the coronavirus, died while waiting to be hospitalized after having tested positive Tuesday, raising alarm that a shortage of hospital beds could lead to more deaths.

ROK-US military drills delayed amid virus concerns
South Korea and the US postponed their annual joint military exercises Thursday, following a coronavirus outbreak here that has sickened about 1,800 and killed 13 people in Korea, as of Thursday afternoon. The drills scheduled for March were put off “until further notice for the safety of all service members,” according to the joint statement from Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Forces Korea on Thursday. It was the first time the annual war game had been postponed over an infectious disease.

BOK freezes rate despite coronavirus, lowers growth outlook
Despite the economic fallout of the new coronavirus, South Korea’s central bank on Thursday froze its policy rate, but chose to cut the growth outlook, reflecting heightened uncertainties. Instead of taking immediate monetary easing decisions, it decided to focus on microscopic actions such as expanding financial support for affected industries.


The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

Chinese students delay trips to Korea amid coronavirus worries
An increasing number of Chinese students enrolled in universities here are canceling their trips to the country ahead of the new school year amid heightening fears over the new coronavirus, data showed Friday. Roughly 1,300 students were set to arrive here on Feb. 25, but 36 percent of them apparently canceled their trips, according to the data by the education ministry.

Italy blasts virus panic 
With tourism tanking and panic rising, Italy tried to control the coronavirus in the realm of public perception Thursday as its outbreak grew to 650 cases and other countries took measures to limit travel to and from affected Italian regions. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Health Minister Roberto Speranza appeared before foreign journalists in Rome to blame overblown media coverage for travel advisories warning visitors to stay away, event cancellations and special border screenings for people coming from hard-hit northern Italy.

International students start to exit Korea over coronavirus fears
International students studying in Korea are starting to return to their home countries amid the soaring number of cases of coronavirus infection here, according to university officials Thursday. An officials at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management (KDI School) said an international student in his 20s from Bangladesh, who entered the school this year, left for his home country Sunday.


HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

Doctors, health workers volunteer to help mitigate coronavirus crisis in Daegu, N. Gyeongsang
#1. Kim Hyeong-gap, a 29-year-old public health doctor working at the Ongryong health center in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, arrived in Daegu at 6 am on Feb. 26 along with another public health doctor from the region. Both of them had volunteered to perform treatment in the Daegu area to help out their fellow public health doctors, who are struggling to cope with treating the rapidly increasing number of novel coronavirus infections (COVID-19); both were sent to Daegu that day as their numbers came up.

S. Korea sees shortage in medical staff, facilities as country’s novel coronavirus cases tops 1,500
South Korea confirmed 334 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Feb. 27, topping the previous record for new cases in a single day and bringing the total of infections to over a thousand. As the transmission cluster connected to the Daegu branch of the Shincheonji religious sect continues to grow, more than 20,000 people have been placed under self-quarantine. Because of the steep increase in the number of patients, medical staff are proposing that patients with mild symptoms be placed under self-quarantine instead of being admitted to the hospital.

S. Korea Foreign Ministry’s website for overseas travel riddled with errors and belated updates
Amid a sharp rise in the number of countries restricting entry to foreign nationals who have been in South Korea recently, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website for “safe overseas travel” (www.0404.go.kr), which provides information of entry bans and other travel conditions, is being accused of causing confusion with its belated reflection of conditions and abrupt changes in its content.


Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Coronavirus Thwarts Korea-U.S. Joint Drills
The Korean and U.S. militaries on Thursday indefinitely postponed joint drills scheduled for the next month amid the rapid spread of coronavirus. The Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command said, "In light of the [Korean] government’s declaration of the highest alert level 'severe' on COVID-19, the [Korea]-U.S. alliance made the decision to postpone the combined command post training…until further notice."

Korea Has Worst Air Pollution in OECD
Korea had the worst air pollution in the OECD last year, according an annual report by air quality monitoring firm IQAir AirVisual on Tuesday. Korea had an average ultrafine dust or PM2.5 concentration of 24.8 ㎍/㎥, overtaking Chile with 22.6 ㎍/㎥ from a year earlier.

Seoul Apartment Prices Keep Soaring out of Reach
The median apartment price in Seoul has soared to W950 million despite fresh government curbs on real-estate speculation in some overheated parts of the capital (US$1=W1,216). The median price is the highest on record because prices kept soaring north of the Han River while the crackdown focused on the affluent Gangnam, Seocho and Songpa districts south of the river.


The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

ROK-U.S. military drills postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19
South Korea and the U.S. have indefinitely postponed their joint military drills originally scheduled to take place next month as COVID-19 spreads rapidly. This is the first time that the joint military drills have been postponed due to an infectious disease since it began in 1954. The novel coronavirus is now affecting security, going beyond public health and economic matters.

LG’s 5G-capable V60 launches exclusively in U.S. and Europe
LG Electronics unveiled its flagship smartphone V60 ThinQ 5G V60 in New York and San Francisco on Wednesday local time. The South Korean tech company hosted a hands-on experience event in New York and San Francisco as the Mobile World Congress 2020 was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The LG V60 was supposed to be showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2020 this year.

Cardinals’ Kim Kwang-hyun makes a successful spring start
St. Louis Cardinals’ Kim Kwang-hyun has made a successful debut as starting pitcher in the Major League Baseball. In his first outing as starting pitcher in the Big League, the 32-year-old Korean pitcher kept a clean sheet through two innings, striking out three Miami batters at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Florida. By capping a clean outing by striking out two hitters against the Mets on Sunday, Kim satisfied his coaching staff with reliable performance as starter.


The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

Ruling Party Ires the Public with a Slip of the Tongue in Connection to COVID-19
The Democratic Party of Korea is busy extinguishing the sparks ignited by a blunder from the ruling party amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The party’s senior spokesperson, Hong Ik-pyo stirred controversy after he mentioned a “blockade” of the Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do (TK) region. He stepped down the very next day on February 26. Floor leader Lee In-young made a public apology and the party’s leader Lee Hae-chan asked party members to be careful in their choice of words and actions.

A Sad Number, 0.92: Record-Breaking Low Fertility Rate Last Year
Last year, the nation’s total fertility rate, referring to the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, recorded the lowest ever at 0.92. South Korea is the only member state of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) whose birth rate failed to reach 1 for two consecutive years. As the low birth rate intensifies, the nation’s population is expected to start a natural course of decline this year. This raises concerns of economic and social shock due to a rapidly aging society.


Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Virus fears overshadow Korea’s top industry semiconductor
Investors are dumping semiconductor stocks amid growing concerns that a much-awaited recovery in the chip industry would be delayed due to the fast-spreading pneumonia like virus that could pose a great threat to the global supply chain and economy. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, the equity benchmark of Wall Street semiconductor stocks and a measure for the global semiconductor economy, tanked 12 percent for four straight days until Tuesday (local time), Reuters reported. 
Korean drug makers stall development of vaccine on COVID 19 amid regulatory hurdles
Despite the alarming surge in infection, South Korean drug makers have not rushed develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus due to regulatory hurdles and questions about efficacy. In contrast, GC Pharma in 2009 boldly launched a vaccine right after a new influenza strain infected up to 750,000 people. The government then responded to market efforts with a fast-track review system and gave a nod to GC Pharma’s flu vaccine just a month after application.

Korean financial firms allowed for remote work to avoid virus disruption
South Korea’s financial authorities have temporarily eased the country’s network separation rule to allow employees of financial companies to work from home amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. The Financial Services Commission and Financial Supervisory Service announced Wednesday that financial workers can now work from home to prevent disruptions in financial services from the virus outbreak.


What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:

USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com, service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com, lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
What are you waiting for?
Use us!
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 35 years old this year!

Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:

English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=10728


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