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The Latest: SKorea warns churches over flouting restrictions

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this Sunday, March 15, 2020, photo, an Indian doctor in a protective suit sits outside an isolation ward for COVIND-19 patients at a Hospital in Hyderabad, India, . For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 182,000 people and killed more than 7,100. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms but most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or people with existing health problems. More than 79,000 people have recovered from it so far, mostly in China.

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A South Korean province surrounding Seoul has threatened to shut down nearly 140 churches that have failed to implement preventive measures amid a spread of the coronavirus in the country’s most populous metropolitan region.

Gyeonggi Province said Tuesday that it has issued an administrative order for the churches to list the names of attendants, screen them for fever and ensure that they wear masks and are at least 2 meters apart during services until March 29. The province can close the churches and fine them as much as $2,400 if they fail to abide by the order.

More than 70 of the province’s COVID-19 cases have been connected to gatherings at Protestant churches. Forty-six of the infections have come from a small church in the city of Seongnam, where officials possibly worsened infections by using the same spray bottle to inject saltwater into the mouths of followers in an ill-advised effort to disinfect them.

South Korea has confirmed 84 new cases of the virus and six more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its total numbers to 8,320 infections and 81 fatalities.

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Sri Lanka says it will add more quarantine centers to help fight the coronavirus in the Indian Ocean island nation.