Coronavirus news and live updates: First deaths in US, Thailand and Australia

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Workers spray disinfectant in front of the Shincheonji building in Daegu, South Korea, on February 21.
Workers spray disinfectant in front of the Shincheonji building in Daegu, South Korea, on February 21. Kim Jun-beom/Yonhap/AP

Of the 3,526 confirmed coronavirus cases across South Korea, 2,113 are linked to the Shincheonji religious group — that’s nearly 60%.

The majority of cases are linked to a branch in the southern city of Daegu, which has 2,569 cases so far, said Kwon Joon-wook, a spokesperson from the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today.

Kwon added that authorities had found a small number of Shincheonji members who traveled to Wuhan in January, though an exact figure isn’t available.

“We are trying our best to check the entire member list of Shincheonji who have traveled to China in January, considering a large outbreak began from South Korea since February,” said Kwon.
“In that process, we have found cases in January including Wuhan but we need to conduct further investigation as this information can be a good reference to understand how such a wide outbreak occurred in South Korea among Shincheonji members.”

Shincheonji denies allegations: Kim Shin-chang, director of international missions for the Shincheonji religious group, told CNN today there were 357 Shincheonji members based in Wuhan, but “we have no record” of any coming from the Chinese city into South Korea since November.

Kim said the government may be trying to “exaggerate the link or possibly move the responsibility to Shincheonji.”

Baby infected: The youngest patient in South Korea is a 45-day-old baby, whose father is a Shincheonji member, according to local reports.



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