S. Korea set to declare coronavirus-hit city, province special disaster zones

SEOUL, South Korea is set to declare the southeastern city of Daegu and the neighboring province special disaster zones Sunday, paving the way for state support for the regions hit hard by the new coronavirus, officials said.

The move comes as nearly 90 percent of coronavirus cases were reported in South Korea's fourth-largest city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province. They were designated as "special care zones" over COVID-19 infections.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun will hold a closed-door meeting with related ministers over details about the declaration in the morning. Chung is expected to recommend President Moon Jae-in make an announcement.

The declaration of special disaster zones will allow the government to spend state money to support 50 percent of the expenditures needed for damage recovery. The move will also permit affected people to receive state support in livelihood costs and exemption in paying utility bills and public health insurance fees.

It will be the first time that South Korea will designate a certain area as a special disaster zone due to infectious disease, not natural disasters.

South Korea has reported 8,086 cases of the virus and 72 deaths since the first case on Jan. 20.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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