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(2nd LD) Moon visits state hospital to check coronavirus response

Jan 28, 2020

Seoul (South Korea) Jan 28: President Moon Jae-in visited the National Medical Center in Seoul Tuesday to inspect its response to the outbreak of a new coronavirus that originated in China.
It reflects Moon's resolve to concentrate the government's efforts to curb the spread of the disease, according to his aides.
It marked the president's first public activity since the Lunar New Year holiday season that ended Monday. A South Korean patient with the Wuhan coronavirus is under treatment at the hospital.
Moon's office, Cheong Wa Dae, described itself as the "control tower" of South Korea's fight against the epidemic.
"We are in an all-out effort mode" against the new virus, a Cheong Wa Dae official said. The presidential office has skipped its routine briefing on Moon's weekly schedule for reporters.
"President Moon's schedule this week is flexible" due to the need to cope with the emergency situation, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Cheong Wa Dae plans to make Moon's schedule public on a daily basis for the time being, he added.
Moon has indefinitely put off a session, originally slated for Thursday, to receive briefings from the welfare ministry and the gender equality ministry on their major policies this year.
South Korea reported its fourth confirmed case of the Wuhan coronavirus on Monday, a week after confirming its first patient with the deadly disease.
The government is scheduled to hold an emergency ministerial meeting later Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, to discuss the plan to charter flights to evacuate hundreds of South Koreans staying in Wuhan, which is on lockdown.
A government source said South Korea is considering operating two chartered planes starting as early as Thursday.
"Related details will be decided in the meeting to be held at the office of the prime minister, including a date for operating the charter flights and quarantine measures for those who are coming from Wuhan," the source said.
Also on the agenda is following up on the president's call to trace "all people" who recently flew into South Korea from Wuhan, where the outbreak started.
The health authorities will first try to check roughly 3,000 people who entered the country in the two weeks following Jan. 13, in cooperation with the justice ministry's immigration office, the source said. The incubation period for the virus remains unknown and some experts say it could be up to 14 days.
Source: Yonhap News Agency