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Coronavirus: Petition calls S. Korean president's impeachment

This article is more than 12 months old

South Korean President has been criticised for his response to outbreak

SEOUL: A petition calling for South Korean President Moon Jae-in's impeachment over his handling of the crisis had gathered more than 687,000 signatures a yesterday.

The petition hit out at Mr Moon for not banning all visitors from China, where the coronavirus originated. Only visitors from China's Hubei province are banned from entering.

The petition also criticised him for sending three million face masks to China. The petition was filed with the presidential Blue House on Feb 4.

The petitioner wrote: "Seeing Moon Jae-in's response to the new coronavirus, I feel that he is more of a President for China than Korea.

"We cannot just watch this catastrophe anymore.... I call for impeachment."

Korea reported 169 new infections yesterday, taking the overall national tally to 1,146, adding an 11th person had died.

The vast majority - 90 per cent - of the new infections were in Daegu and the neighbouring province of North Gyeongsang, which between them account for the bulk of the national total.

An American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll 30km north of Daegu tested positive, commanders said, the first infection among the 28,500 US troops in South Korea. The 23-year-old had been put in self-quarantine at his home, US Forces Korea said, adding it was conducting "contact tracing".

China reported another 406 new infections yesterday, down from 508 a day earlier and bringing the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China to at least 78,000 and more than 2,700 deaths, with most still concentrated in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province.

Two Chinese nurses from Wuhan made an unusual global appeal for help in a letter published by a prestigious British medical journal.

"We are asking nurses and medical staff from countries around the world to come to China now, to help us in this battle," wrote nurses Zeng Yingchun and Zhen Yan in the appeal published on Feb 24 on the website of The Lancet. "The conditions and environment here in Wuhan are more difficult and extreme than we could ever have imagined." - AFP, REUTERS