Virus cases balloon in S. Korea as outbreak shifts, spreads

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A worker wearing protective gears disinfect chairs as a precaution against the coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. South Korea on Friday declared a “special management zone” around a southeastern city where a surging viral outbreak, largely linked to a church in Daegu, threatens to overwhelm the region’s health system. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Schools are shuttered, churches are telling worshipers to stay away and some mass gatherings are banned as South Korea grapples with a ballooning number of cases of a new virus. The country says 204 people are confirmed infected.

The multiplying caseload shows both the ease with which the illness can spread and how the reverberations of an outbreak centered in China are being felt strongly elsewhere. South Korea’s prime minister says the country has “entered an emergency phase.” The new cases are concentrated near the city of Daegu, which has 2.5 million people.

Hundreds of schools due to start a new academic year have delayed reopening. Globally, more than 76,000 people have been sickened.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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