South Korea reported a coronavirus fatality, the first in the East Asian nation, on Thursday, February 20. Till now, the country has reported 104 Covid-19 infection cases. Japan, too, reported two fatalities, both former Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers. With the disease spreading rapidly in other parts of Asia, Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, urged the world to resume trade and people-to-people contact, with Beijing.
South Korea reports Covid-19 fatality
South Korea reported its first fatality due to novel coronavirus infection on Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported. The patient was under treatment in a hospital in the south-eastern city of Cheongdo, who died earlier today. It comes after cluster cases related to a church congregation in Daegu city, led to the confirmed cases in the country reaching 104. Out of these 104 cases, 49 are linked to the Daengu church.
As a result, the city's mayor has urged its 2.5 million inhabitants to refrain from going outside. Similarly, the Defense Ministry banned troops stationed in the city, from leaving their barracks and receiving guests. US troops stationed there are imposed with similar restrictions.
China urges world to resume ties
In a meeting with foreign ministers of the ASEAN nations, China's top diplomat Wang Yi urged the nations to resume links with it. "China is not only protecting its own people but also the rest of the world", he said. He pledged that Beijing will share timely information on the epidemic.
With ASEAN being its second-largest trading partner, the epidemic has affected China's economy, with a number of its BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) projects having been stalled. "The outbreak may have some impact on the Chinese economy, but such impact will only be temporary and limited", Wang said, South China Morning Post reported. "In light of the conditions on the ground, countries need to resume people-to-people ties and cooperation. We will turn challenges into opportunities", he said.
"While the outbreak is highly challenging, new industries have also emerged in the process", he added. The virus outbreak in China has led to over 2,000 deaths and about 75,000 persons being diseased. It has spread to over two dozen countries, but China remains the hardest-hit, reporting over 99 percent cases.