President Moon Jae-in received an emergency briefing from Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, Friday, regarding the quick spread of the coronavirus in Korea.
Chung designated the Daegu-Gyeongsang region as a “special care area” after the first COVID-19 death was reported in Cheongdo, a remote village in North Gyeongsang Province.
“The government will carry out special measures by designating Daegu and Cheongdo as special care zones,” he said during a meeting with Moon and relevant ministers.
Chung underlined the need to shift the focus on preventing the further spread of the virus locally.
On Thursday alone, there were more than 50 confirmed cases at a church in Daegu, raising concerns that the epidemic is far from over.
On Feb. 13, Moon expressed optimism about the epidemic, saying the situation would be resolved by the end of the month. But since the remark, the situation has grown more severe, as seen by the sharp spike in infections this past week alone, particularly in the Daegu-Gyeongsang region.
On Friday, Taiwan issued a travel warning for Korea due to the sudden increase in confirmed virus cases.
With public fears mounting over the epidemic, Moon called for strong and speedy measures to contain the further spread of the virus.
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“In many respects, the situation is quite serious. We need to undertake effective measures quickly,” the President said, according to a statement released by Cheong Wa Dae after the Prime Minister’s emergency briefing.
Chung stressed the need to raise the state alert level to “serious” from “watch.”
According to the statement, Moon also showed concern about the minor Christian sect called the Shincheonji church, as many of the confirmed cases in the Daegu area are worshipers at this church.
“We need to meticulously research those in attendance of the worship and funeral services,” Moon was quoted as saying.
Some members of the sect were reported to have contracted the virus while attending church and a funeral service for a family member of the church’s founder Lee Man-hee at a hospital in the provincial town of Cheongdo, near Daegu,
After the emergency briefing, Moon also met small business owners at a department store in Yangcheon-gu, Seoul. The President said the government will announce economic measures by the end of the month to help the business sector that has been hit hard by the spread of the virus.
Source: The Korea Times