The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.
Gatherings canceled, remote work opted for again over omicron variant anxieties
SEOUL -- A growing number of people across Seoul have been choosing to cancel or put off year-end gatherings and opting to work from home amid a surge in new virus patients and the confirmation of the country's first omicron variant cases, according to anecdotes Thursday.
South Korea confirmed five omicron infections a day earlier, the first local cases of the fast-spreading COVID-19 variant, forcing authorities to tighten passenger screening and quarantine measures at airports.
(LEAD) False info given by omicron-positive couple in contact tracing puts many at infection risks
INCHEON -- A couple, who tested positive for the omicron coronavirus variant for the first time in South Korea, was found to have lied about how they went home from the airport upon return from Nigeria, leaving dozens of people exposed to the risk of infection.
The couple -- a pastor and his wife in their 40s -- initially told health authorities they took one of the officially designated infection-proof "quarantine" taxies to return home from Incheon International Airport on Nov. 24.
(3rd LD) S. Korea, U.S. to update war plans to deter evolving N.K. nuke, missile threats
SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States agreed Thursday to update their joint wartime contingency plans to deter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats, the two sides said, in a sign of their stepped-up cooperation to reinforce deterrence against the recalcitrant regime.
Defense Minister Suh Wook and his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, approved the "Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG)," a document to set the tone for updated wartime operation plans (OPLANs), during the allies' annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM).
IU's 'Killing Voice Live' most-viewed Youtube video in S. Korea this year
SEOUL -- A live video of singer-songwriter IU on media channel Dingo was the most viewed video on YouTube in South Korea this year, the company said Thursday.
"IU's Killing Voice Live," the 18-minute video of IU singing live on YouTube's Dingo Music channel, ranked first with over 30 million views, according to YouTube.
(LEAD) Seoul stocks rally for 2nd day on strong foreign buying
SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rallied for second straight session Thursday on the back of strong foreign buying. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) increased 45.55 points, or 1.57 percent, to close at 2,945.27 points.
Lee narrows gap with Yoon to 33 pct vs. 34 pct: survey
SEOUL -- Ruling Democratic Party presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung is catching up with rival Yoon Seok-youl of the main opposition People Power Party with 33 percent support against Yoon's 34 percent, a survey showed Thursday.
The candidates posted the numbers in a hypothetical four-way race, narrowing the gap between the two to 1 percentage point, according to the survey of 1,015 people conducted Monday to Wednesday by Embrain Public, Kstat Research, Korea Research and Hankook Research.
DP presidential candidate says he prefers military service deferment for BTS members
SEOUL -- Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), said Thursday that he prefers military service postponement over exemptions for K-pop superstar BTS amid growing public interest over the boy band's mandatory duty.
"Among young South Koreans, who really would love to go into the military?" Lee asked at a forum hosted by the Korea Broadcasting Journalists Club. "In perspective of fairness, I think it is more desirable to allow military service deferment (for BTS), and exemptions should be refrained from as much as possible."