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Yonhap News Summary

13:30 February 23, 2021

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday.

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(2nd LD) New virus cases in 300s for 2nd day; high reproduction rate, variants still concerning

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed below 400 for the second straight day Tuesday on fewer tests over the weekend, but authorities are vigilant over the rising reproduction rate amid eased social distancing measures and an increase in the number of patients infected with COVID-19 variants.

The country reported 357 more virus cases, including 330 local infections, raising the total caseload to 87,681, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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N.K. man caught on coastal CCTV cameras 10 times, military failed to respond

SEOUL -- A North Korean man was caught on military surveillance cameras along the east coast 10 times after he swam ashore in the South last week, but soldiers failed to notice eight of them even after alarm bells rang, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday.

The announcement was a key point of the results of the JCS' weeklong probe into the Feb. 16 incident. The North Korean man was ultimately captured more than six hours later inside a restricted area north of the Civilian Control Line in the eastern border town of Goseong.

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(LEAD) Men's volleyball league suspended for 2 weeks after player tests positive for COVID-19

SEOUL -- The South Korean professional volleyball league announced Tuesday the ongoing men's season will be suspended for two weeks, effective immediately, after a player tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO), which operates the V-League, reached the decision a few hours after Park Jin-u of the KB Insurance Stars tested positive for COVID-19 late Monday.

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S. Korea's economy tipped to stage modest recovery: BOK chief

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy is expected to stage a modest recovery, supported by exports and investment, but its job markets would recover at a slow pace as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit the service sector, the head of the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Tuesday.

In a report to the National Assembly, BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol repeated that the central bank will continue its easing of the monetary policy to prop up the pandemic-hit economy.

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S. Korea's 2020 growth ranks 3rd among major nations

SEOUL -- South Korea's economic growth rate ranked third among major economies across the globe in 2020 despite an on-year contraction due to the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Tuesday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy contracted 1 percent last year from a year earlier, but it posted the third-best performance among 15 major nations, according to the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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U.S. working closely with S. Korea to maintain joint defense readiness: Pentagon official

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. and South Korea have maintained an adequate level of defense readiness and will continue to do so, an official from the U.S. Department of Defense said Monday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also said the South Korea-U.S. alliance will continue to remain strong as ever.

"As Gen. Abrams has said many times, we do have to maintain a significant level of readiness on the peninsula," Kirby said, referring to Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

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