03/09/2020, 09.24
SOUTH KOREA
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Coronavirus epidemic slows in Korea for the third consecutive day

The total number of infections from Covid-19 in the country reaches 7,382. So far 51 people have died, mostly elderly patients with underlying conditions. About 63% of infections are related to the Daegu Shincheonji Church of Jesus sect. Seoul and Tokyo suspend a tourist visa waiver program.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The coronavirus epidemic in the country is showing signs of slowing down: new infections are falling for the third consecutive day and mark the lowest daily number since 26 February, note health authorities this morning.

 The Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) says that the 248 new cases detected yesterday bring the total number of infections from Covid-19 to 7,382 in the country. So far 51 people have died in South Korea, mostly elderly patients with underlying conditions.

About 63% of confirmed infections are related to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus sect in Daegu, the fourth largest city in the country. According to experts, the new daily infections have decreased in recent days also because the health authorities have completed thorough examinations among the approximately 210 thousand members of the religious community.

Seoul has conducted one of the most ambitious coronavirus testing programs in the world: thousands of people undergo tests every day. Health officials have carried out a total of 189,236 tests on people suspected of having the virus; 171,778 were negative.

Meanwhile, South Korea has today launched a rationing system for protective masks. Despite government quarantine efforts, demand far outstrips supply. Under the new directive, citizens will only be able to purchase two masks per week from pharmacies, on certain days of the week and depending on the final number of their year of birth. The government also imposed restrictions on mask exports and urged factories to increase production.

Also starting today, both South Korea and Japan have mutually suspended a tourist visa waiver program, at the center of renewed diplomatic tensions. Over 100 countries have imposed entry restrictions on South Koreans.

A 24-year-old Korean tested positive for the virus after recently traveling to Italy, which has become the country most affected by Covid-19 after China.

However, the Seoul government says it has not yet thought about a plan to extract its citizens from the European country. According to Kim Ganglip, deputy minister of health, Italy has an advanced health system, which would not justify the measures recently adopted for the repatriation of South Koreans from China.

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