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Ruling party, some govt. offices grind to temporary halt due to virus cases


Work ground to a temporary halt for the ruling Democratic Party and several government offices Wednesday after confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases were reported at their workplaces.

Top officials of the ruling Democratic Party, including Chairman Lee Hae-chan, voluntarily went under self-quarantine earlier in the day after coming in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient.

Having covered a meeting of the party's top representatives Wednesday morning, a photojournalist was tested for the virus after learning that a relative with whom he dined last Saturday tested positive for the virus.

The party said Lee canceled all his arrangements for Wednesday and Thursday morning, and the party leaders will seclude themselves until the journalist's test result, due Thursday morning, is out.

The officials will resume work if the test result comes back negative, the party said.

A confirmed COVID-19 case was also reported at the central government complex in Seoul on Wednesday, forcing the government to shut down the main building's entire third floor, where the patient stayed, for disinfection and an epidemiological survey.

According to officials, a security guard posted at the complex tested positive earlier in the day, one day after visiting a hospital due to a stomachache.

The decision also led to the temporary closure of a press room for correspondents covering the Financial Services Commission, as well as a joint press briefing room on the same floor.

The new infection came three days after three confirmed cases were reported from the annexed building of the central government complex that houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Several floors of the building were also closed for two days till Monday after two cleaning workers and a foreign service worker tested positive.

The military was also put on edge after a civilian worker at the defense ministry's Cyber Operations Command tested positive earlier on Wednesday.

Several facilities inside the ministry's compound in Seoul were disinfected while authorities launched an investigation to trace his recent movement inside the compound. (Yonhap)