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S.Korea to act against churches for defying COVID-19 guidelines

Despite ban on social gatherings to stem COVID-19 spread, Protestant churches went ahead with services on Sunday

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 23.03.2020
S.Korea to act against churches for defying COVID-19 guidelines South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun


South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Monday that his government is planning legal action against some Protestant churches for going ahead with their services, defying the ban on social gatherings.

The move comes after the government claim that social distancing measures have shown positive results. South Korea on Monday said that it has reported the lowest daily figure of new COVID-19 or novel coronavirus infection since its outbreak.

Health authorities said that the efforts of the government have also resulted in the recovery of a 93-year-old woman from the COVID-19, reported Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s official news outlet.

Chung said stern measures would be taken against churches, who have defined guidelines, meant to stem the spread of the virus.

"The act of churches has seriously hurt not only the safety of individuals attending the service but also communities," Chung said while heading a meeting of various government agencies.

"It is an emergency that amounts to a quasi-wartime situation. People should not regard the government's administrative orders as a bluff," he stressed.

Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said that it found new 64 coronavirus cases on Sunday bringing total infection cases to 8,961 in the country.

It added that daily infections remained below 100 for the second straight day and were marked lowest since they peaked to 909 on Feb. 29. So far 111 people have died in the country due to the infection.

KCDC said that the country’s mortality rate stood at 1.24% as of Sunday, however, those aged 80 and above, it was 11.62%.

Most of the coronavirus deaths in South Korea were those of elderly people.

The 93-year-old patient who recovered from the new disease was discharged from a Seoul hospital.

The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 167 countries and territories. The WHO has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 341000 while the death toll has reached 14765 and over 98,800 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.

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