tbs eFM 101.3 News http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsMain.do EU Government Experts Agree Border Closures 'Counterproductive' http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386576&typ_800=M European Union government experts have agreed that blocking cross-border movement of people in the bloc with suspected COVID-19 symptoms is "counterproductive." European states that are members of the open-border Schengen area met on Thursday to discuss the issue. According to Reuters, an official who briefed on the results of the meeting said border closures are not "an appropriate preventive or remedial measure as the virus would spread further." Adding their position would be reviewed weekly, the official stressed that quarantine measures for those with symptoms are a preferable option and "much more effective." The EU specialists were also said to have advised "systematic" checks for those arriving, allowing states to impose additional checks for health assessments if they wished.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Christine Min 202002280934+0900 China Donates Face Masks To S. Korea's Virus-Hit Daegu http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386569&typ_800=P The Chinese Embassy in South Korea has provided 25,000 masks to the southeastern city of Daegu as it battles to contain a massive spike in COVID-19 infections. The embassy said on Thursday the provision was made to show gratitude to South Koreans for the friendship and support they showed to Chinese during the early stages of the virus outbreak in mainland China. An embassy official said they will continue to secure various supplies and actively support and stand by South Korea in its fight to overcome the infectious disease. Shanghai also delivered 500,000 masks to the South Korean consulate office in the city to be sent to Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province. It is the first Chinese municipal government to take action and assist the South Korean government's efforts to prevent further spread of the virus.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Christine Min 202002280903+0900 Moon, Rival Party Leaders To Discuss COVID-19 Containment Efforts http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386568&typ_800=N President Moon Jae-in is set to meet with the heads of four main political parties at the National Assembly on Friday to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and response measures. The rare session will involve Lee Hae-chan, head of the ruling Democratic Party, Hwang Kyo-ahn, leader of the main opposition United Future Party, Sim Sang-jeung, chief of the Justice Party, and You Sung-yop, co-head of the Party for People's Livelihoods. It will also mark Moon's first visit to parliament since taking office. Their talks are likely to focus on ways to overcome the current health crisis and bipartisan cooperation to back government efforts. Moon is expected to thank the parties for passing a set of bills earlier this week designed to bolster the nation's response to infectious diseases and request further support for an emergency supplementary budget. Ahead of the meeting, the president will reportedly sit down with National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202002280903+0900 Dozen More Countries Restrict Travel From S. Korea Over Coronavirus http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386529&typ_800=N [Anchor] More countries are imposing entry restrictions on travelers from South Korea amid global concern over the rapid spread of COVID-19. The move comes despite doubts by experts on the efficacy and ethics of such travel bans. Julie Sohn reports. [Reporter] According to Seoul's foreign ministry website, a total of 42 countries have either slapped entry restrictions or tightened quarantine processes on travelers from South Korea. This is an increase from a list of 30 countries recorded yesterday. The newly-added nations include Mongolia, Fiji, the Philippines and the Seychelles, which imposed entry bans on South Korean nationals and visitors who have been in the Asian country or visited Daegu and Cheongdo in North Gyeongsang Province during the past two weeks. Seven others, including India, French Polynesia, Belarus, Morocco and Paraguay, toughened their quarantine procedures and strengthened immigration methods. Five provinces in China have also tightened quarantine procedures for international air travelers, with some restrictions applying to all passengers and some only to those coming from South Korea or Japan. The move comes despite doubts raised by health experts on the effectiveness of travel restrictions at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus. Speaking to TBS eFM's "This Morning" program, Roojin Habibi, research fellow in global health law at York University said travel bans imposed by countries is excessive and troubling. [Clip - Habibi] "The travel restrictions that countries are imposing right now are excessive in light of the spread of this (virus) and the fact that it's now in every single continent of the world except for Antarctica. So, it is very troubling." The United States also raised its travel warning for its Asian ally by one notch to Level 3, the second-highest on a four-tier scale, although it has not put any entry restrictions from travelers from South Korea at the moment. U.S. President Donald Trump said now is not the right time to put additional travel restrictions to and from South Korea, Italy and other countries affected by COVID-19. Julie Sohn, eFM News.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Julie Sohn 202002271754+0900 505 New COVID-19 Infections Reported In S. Korea http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386528&typ_800=N [Anchor] South Korea has reported 505 additional cases of COVID-19 today. The figure brings the total number of infected in the country to 1,766. Meanwhile, the 13th death was confirmed. Ron Chang reports. [Reporter] According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 505 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in South Korea today. A majority of infections is centered in the southeastern city of Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province. Other regions where patients were confirmed to have contracted the disease include Busan, Seoul, Gyeonggi, Daejeon, Ulsan and Gangwon. Earlier, KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said it's inevitable that more confirmed cases will be reported for the time being given that members of the Shincheonji religious sect in Daegu are still being tested for the coronavirus. As for the latest fatality, it's a 74-year-old South Korean man that was waiting to be hospitalized in Daegu. The man is the second member of the religious sect to die from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, another recovered patient is being discharged from hospital today. The South Korean resident of Wuhan who was evacuated on a chartered plane earlier has tested negative for the virus twice. That means a total of 25 people have been cured of the disease. Ron Chang, eFM News.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202002271753+0900 Govt Receives Full Shincheonji Member List, Including Missing Trainees http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386524&typ_800=N The government says it has received a new list of members of the Shincheonji religious sect. Another list was requested after the first one did not include those who are being trained to become official followers. The sect has reported a majority of South Korea's confirmed coronavirus cases. Kim Gang-lip, deputy head of the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, told reporters that there are now some 65,000 more members on the new list. The government is planning to contact all Shincheonji members to conduct COVID-19 tests on anyone with symptoms. Kim said local governments already began reaching out to those from the first list, which contained about 210,000 members.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202002271745+0900 Crew Leaves Coronavirus-Hit Cruise Ship In Japan For New Quarantine http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386518&typ_800=M Crew members from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan are beginning to leave the quarantined vessel. A Japanese health ministry official said 240 crew members are getting off the Diamond Princess today, and the disembarkation will continue for a few days. They will then be placed under medical observation for 14 days at government-designated dormitories before obtaining permission to leave Japan. Thousands of passengers were quarantined for some two weeks after the ship arrived at a port near Tokyo on February 3.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Jenna Lee 202002271725+0900 CGV Theaters In Daegu To Close Indefinitely Amid COVID-19 Outbreak http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386507&typ_800=I Local multiplex cinema chain CGV says it will temporarily close from tomorrow all of its theaters across Daegu, which has been hit hard by an outbreak of the new coronavirus. CGV said the decision was made for health and safety of moviegoers as well as employees. A decision has yet to be made when the theaters will reopen. CGV currently operates nine theaters in the southeastern city.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202002271616+0900 S. Korea Not Planning To Expand Entry Ban Over Coronavirus http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386467&typ_800=N The government has reiterated its stance that it will not expand entry bans for COVID-19, saying it will instead focus on curbing the community transmission of the disease. Kim Gang-lip, deputy head of the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, said today the cause of the recent surge in infections seems to point to community transmission. Currently, the government is banning travelers from Hubei province, the epicenter of the disease, and a special entry process is in place for travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Citing the recent trend of a decreasing rate of infection in China, Kim said alleviating the harm caused by community transmission is more appropriate than placing measures to diminish the virus inflow from abroad.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Jenna Lee 202002271448+0900 Govt Requests Full Shincheonji Member List, Including Trainees To Test For COVID-19 http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386488&typ_800=N The government says it again asked the Shincheonji religious sect for a full list of members after the first list they provided didn't include those who are being trained to become official followers. The sect has reported a majority of South Korea's confirmed coronavirus cases. Kim Gang-lip, deputy head of the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, told reporters today that officials sent the request to the religious group this morning as some 70,000 trainees were missing from the initial list. The government is planning to contact all Shincheonji members to conduct COVID-19 tests on anyone with symptoms. Kim said local governments already began reaching out to those from the first list, which contained about 210,000 members.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202002271446+0900 Third Group Of S. Korean Evacuees From Wuhan Released From Quarantine http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386482&typ_800=N The third group of South Korean nationals and their Chinese family members that were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, has been released from a two-week quarantine. Since being airlifted to the country on February 12, 147 people have been in isolation at a state-designated facility in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. Health authorities said they all tested negative for the new coronavirus. Earlier, 700 other Korean evacuees from Wuhan were released from two facilities in Asan and Jincheon.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Christine Min 202002271423+0900 S. Korea, US Postpone Joint Military Drills Due To COVID-19 http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386458&typ_800=N South Korea and the United States have decided to postpone their springtime joint military exercises due to growing concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus. The Combined Forces Command announced on Thursday the two sides are putting off the computer-simulated combined command post training initially planned for March until further notice. The move came after the South Korean government raised its alert to the highest level over the COVID-19 situation in the country. The command stressed the latest decision "was not taken lightly," adding the alliance "remains committed to providing a credible military deterrence and maintaining a robust combined defense posture" to protect South Korea against any threat. It marks the first time the allies have decided to modify their combined exercises due to public health issues.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202002271401+0900 Most S. Koreans Back Coercive Measures To Investigate Infectious Diseases: Survey http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386462&typ_800=P Nearly nine in 10 South Koreans support health authorities using coercive measures to investigate an infectious disease. A Realmeter survey commissioned by TBS found 89.1 percent of the respondents said authorities should conduct compulsory epidemiological investigations on certain groups closely linked to a contagion. Only 7 percent said authorities should not use coercive powers, even in an outbreak. By region, 83 percent in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, which are considered COVID-19 hotspots, supported forceful probes. The phone survey was conducted Wednesday on over 500 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points and a confidence level of 95 percent.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Julie Sohn 202002271342+0900 Face Mask Supplies To Hit Post Offices, Pharmacies http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386465&typ_800=P Faced with a shortage of protective masks amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government has ordered manufacturers to release supplies to state-run or public retailers from as early as Thursday. Mask manufacturers are required to release at least 50 percent of their daily output, or five million units, to Korea Post, Nonghyup Bank and pharmacies. Each customer will be limited to five masks to prevent hoarding. An additional 500,000 masks will be supplied to medical facilities and the Daegu Medical Association. The government said a total of five million face masks will be distributed in the Daegu region over the next five days.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Hyeryeon Chung 202002271339+0900 COVID-19 Death Toll In S. Korea Rises To 13 As Cases Near 1,600 http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2386456&typ_800=N South Korea has reported one more coronavirus death and 334 new infections for the highest daily spike in confirmed cases. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its daily update on Thursday that the latest figures bring the number of COVID-19 fatalities in the country to 13 and total infected to 1,595. Officials said the 13th victim was a 74-year-old man who was a member of the Shincheonji religious sect in Daegu. Among the latest cases, 307 were reported in Daegu and four in North Gyeongsang Province. These two areas, which have been designated "special management zones" amid the outbreak, account for more than 1,300 infections nationwide.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Christine Min 202002271246+0900