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South Korea reports 169 more infections and 11 deaths from coronavirus

World News | Published:

A US military member based in South Korea has also been infected.

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South Korean authorities have reported a rise of 169 more cases of the coronavirus known as Covid-19, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 1,146.

Eleven South Korean fatalities have also been reported, mostly at a hospital in the county of Cheongdo, near Daegu.

Another 19 cases came from neighbouring North Gyeongsang Province towns.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier called for Americans to be prepared for the illness to spread there, adding new urgency to response efforts that had long focused on China and its Asian neighbours.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said.

The number of cases were expected to rise as health workers were working to finish testing hundreds of members of the Daegu branch of a church that has the country’s biggest cluster of infections.

The Shincheonji Church of Jesus, which mainstream Christian organisations describe as a cult, agreed to hand over a list of 200,000 members nationwide so screenings could expand.

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The US military says one of its soldiers based in South Korea has also tested positive for Covid-19.

The 23-year-old man was originally based in a town near Daegu and had visited a neighbouring base in recent days.

He is currently in self-quarantine at his off-base residence.

The military said South Korean authorities and US military health professionals were tracing his contacts to determine if other people may have been exposed.

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HEALTH Coronavirus
Covid-19: confirmed cases as of February 25. Infographic: PA Graphics

Meanwhile Chinese officials have reported 406 cases of the new virus as well as 52 deaths, all of them recorded in the hard-hit Hubei province.

China has recorded 2,715 total deaths from Covid-19 and 78,064 confirmed cases of the virus on the mainland.

New outbreaks occurring in far-flung places are raising concerns about how to contain the spread of the illness and what will happen when it reaches new places.

Italy had taken Europe’s most stringent preventative measures and yet became home to the biggest outbreak outside of Asia.

Experts in Japan, with one of the world’s most sophisticated health systems, acknowledged the country’s handling of a virus-stricken cruise ship was flawed and could have allowed the problem to magnify.

Japan’s case total of 860, third-highest behind China and South Korea, includes 691 passengers and crew from the Diamond Princess.

Four former passengers on the ship have died and more than a dozen people who were evacuated by their home countries later tested positive for the virus.

Six government officials involved in the quarantine effort also became sick.

Overnight, 445 Filipinos who were mostly crew members on the ship flew home to begin a 14-day quarantine at an athletic facility in a northern province.

Eighty Filipino crew members who tested positive for the virus stayed behind in hospitals in Japan.

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