South Korean city's 2.5 million people urged to stay home as coronavirus cases soar

South Korean city's 2.5 million people urged to stay home as coronavirus cases soar

Mayor of South Korean city of Daegu urges its 2.5 million people to refrain from going outside as its virus cases spike.

In a nationally televised news conference after the southeastern city and its nearby towns reported 35 additional cases of infection with the new coronavirus, Mayor Kwon Young-jin expressed fears that the rising infections in the region will soon overwhelm the city’s health infrastructure and called for urgent help from the central government in Seoul.

“National quarantine efforts that are currently focused on blocking the inflow of the virus (from China) and stemming its spread are inadequate for preventing the illness from circulating in local communities,” The AP cited Kwon as saying.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the South Korean man, believed to be around 63 years old, died at a hospital on Wednesday and posthumously tested positive for the virus. It said authorities were investigating the exact cause of his death.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 28 of those 35 new patients went to church services attended by a previously confirmed virus patient or contacted her at other places inside a Daegu church. That patient is a South Korean woman in her early 60s who has no recent record of overseas travel, according to center officials. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, becoming the 31st case in South Korea.

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 center.

In a telephone conversation with Kwon, President Moon Jae-in said the central government will make all available assistance to help Daegu fight against the virus’ further spread, according to the presidential Blue House.

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