S.Korea Confirms 52 New Coronavirus Cases, Regions Declared 'Special Care Zones' - Reports

SEOUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st February, 2020) South Korea on Friday registered 52 new cases of coronavirus infections bringing the total to 156, media reported citing the health authorities.

Most of the cases, 38, were recorded in the southeastern city of Daegu, according to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) while the other 14 in other regions of the country.

State news agency Yonhap reported that Health Minister Chung Sye-kyun declared Daegu and the surrounding regions as special care zones

"The government will take special measures by declaring the Daegu and Cheongdo areas as special care zones as a sudden rise in confirmed cases was reported there," Chung said at a pan-government meeting over the virus, according to Yonhap.

The minister also declared a shift in containment policy, announcing that the government will begin new measures to stem the outbreak at home.

"The government has so far focused on curbing infections coming from outside the country. From now on, the government will further prioritize preventing the virus from spreading locally," Chung said.

South Korea announced its first death from the coronavirus on Thursday in the Cheongdo area, while reports emerged of a woman at a church service in Daegu infecting nearly 40 people, making her the most prolific spreader known so far.

The KCDC also reported that 16 people have fully recovered while 2,707 were being tested.

The novel coronavirus disease, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China's Hubei Province, in late December 2019 and has since spread to more than 25 other countries. The outbreak has already left over 76,000 people infected worldwide and resulted in more than 2,200 fatalities.