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Homeland Security

South Korea, China Report Increase in Number of Coronavirus Infections

By VOA News February 22, 2020

South Korea's prime minister said the coronavirus in his country had entered a "more grave stage" as 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.

Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of the 120 new cases reported Sunday, 113 were in the fourth-largest city, Daegu, and surrounding areas. South Korea now has 556 reported coronavirus cases.

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 with a Level 2 advisory, travelers should avoid contact with sick people and practice basic hygiene, such as washing your hands, to guard against contracting the disease.

New reports

China reported 648 new infections Sunday, for a total of 76,936. It said 97 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.

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 lockdown 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.

WHO concerned

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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