South Korea Reports Its First Death From Coronavirus

800 SK hynix workers in self-quarantine over new coronavirus

The South Korean Centres for Disease Control has confirmed the first death from the coronavirus in the country, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

Patients and staff at Cheongdo Daenam hospital, where the death occurred, are being tested for the virus, and environmental disinfection is now ongoing.

Patient 31 is believed to have attended at least four services since she fell ill and refused to be tested on the grounds she had not recently travelled overseas.

SK hynix Inc., the world's No. 2 memory chipmaker, said Thursday that about 800 workers at its South Korean headquarters have been self-quarantined as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, although such a move is not affecting its factory operations.

Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin told residents to stay indoors as he warned of likely further cases.

More than 75,000 people worldwide are infected with the novel virus, according to Thursday estimates.

Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-lip told reporters that, "At this stage, (the government) judged that COVID-19 is spreading locally with a limited scope".

Still, the authorities kept the virus alert level at "orange", the third highest, Kim said.

On Wednesday morning, Daegu confirmed 13 cases and 11 of them either went to the same church with the woman patient or contacted her at a hospital, according to the disease control centre.

"We are in an unprecedented crisis", he said at a briefing in the city, about 240 km (150 miles) southwest of the capital Seoul.

Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province are home to some 5 million people.

A surge in confirmed cases linked to a local church in Daegu this week sparked fears of wider transmission.

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An epidemiological survey was underway to examine "the possibility of a link" between her and the hospital infections, said South Korea's KCDC director Jung Eun-kyeong.

The military also urged people to exercise good hygiene, including thoroughly and frequently washing hands and avoiding contact with people who are sick, or staying home if ill themselves.

He and several other patients had earlier tested positive for the virus.

The religious group has stopped holding services at the church, instead encouraging its members to attend online services or hold ones at home.

Of the new cases, 30 are in Daegu and one was confirmed in Seoul.

Kwon cautioned that at least 90 more of the about 1,000 other people who attended services at the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony were also showing symptoms.

It was South Korea's first death from the virus.

U.S. Forces Korea said, "there remains zero confirmed cases of USFK personnel with COVID-19".

South Korea has a capacity to conduct 5,000 coronavirus tests a day, but the figure will be increased to 10,000 by the end of the month.

Under the latest revision, front-line doctors will be allowed to actively conduct coronavirus tests if they think a person may have contracted the sickness.

In addition, the country plans to check those who are suffering from pneumonia due to unknown causes.

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