South Korea on Friday reported 52 new cases of Covid-19, a 50 per cent spike in the number of infections, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said. The number of coronavirus-affected patients almost trebled in just three days to 156, with most in the city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province including 41 of the new cases, the KCDC reported.
Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun promised “strong and swift” measures to prevent the virus from spreading further, including designating the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo – also in North Gyeongsang Province – as “special care zones,” according to news agency Yonhap. “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,” Yonhap cited Chung as saying at a government meeting.
Daegu’s 2.5 million residents on Thursday were advised to stay at home by Mayor Kwon Young Jin in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Authorities said that cases were also reported in the capital Seoul, the central south-west province of Chungcheong and and on Jeju Island. The Seoul city government said it would ban rallies and close down church services of the Shincheonji Christian sect as part of measures to curb the Covid-19 spread, Yonhap reported. Five cases reported on Thursday were linked with the church according to the KCDC.
South Korea also saw its first death from the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed deaths outside mainland China to 11 across seven countries and territories. China on Friday reported 889 new infections and 118 deaths over a 24-hour interval. The total number of confirmed cases so far across the mainland has reached 75,465, with 2,236 deaths, according to the National Health Commission. A day earlier WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva that confirmed cases were declining, without specifying whether there is also a downward trend if the changed tallying method is accounted for.
“We’re encouraged by this trend, but this is no time for complacency,” he told a press conference. In Japan, 450 more passengers are due to leave the Diamond Princess cruise ship on Friday after weeks in quarantine, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported. The ship and its 3,700 passengers were quarantined in a Japanese port for two weeks as a precaution. Passengers who have tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the Diamond Princess. More than 700 have already left the vessel. Germany will fly its citizens home Friday evening with other Europeans on an Italian aircraft.
Japanese authorities are limiting some sports events and cancelling others. After the organizers of the Tokyo marathon decided that only top athletes, but not amateurs, can participate this year, the same has now been decided for the women’s marathon in Nagoya. The city marathon in Nagoya was canceled entirely.
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