Covid-19: South Korea shuts bars, nightclubs to curtail sudden surge

by Akeem Alao
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Following the exponential surge in the cases of Covid-19 in South Korea, not less than 21, 000 nightclubs have been shut down hostess bars and discos.

The decision followed the report that dozens of coronavirus infections were linked to club goers who went out last weekend as the country relaxed social distancing guidelines.

The incident called for new measures imposed on Saturday May 9, 2020, by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

The Mayor acted proactively after the national government urged entertainment venues around the nation to close or otherwise enforce anti-virus measures, including distancing, temperature checks, keeping customer lists and requiring employees to wear masks.

Park said the entry bans on the facilities would be maintained until the city concludes that risks of infection has been meaningfully lowered.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or KCDC, said earlier in the day that 18 new cases were reported in the 24 hours to midnight Friday, all but one of them linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three clubs in Seoul’s Itaewon district last Saturday before testing positive days later.

But Park said 16 more cases were confirmed in Seoul alone in the following hours. He said this brought the total number of infections linked to club goers to 40 — 27 in Seoul, 12 in neighboring Incheon and Gyeonggi and one in the southern port city of Busan.

The KCDC, which compiles data from local governments, couldn’t immediately confirm Park’s numbers. But senior KCDC official Kwon Joon-wook raised concerns that the club goers could possibly spread “secondary infections from wherever they live.”

The number of infections could grow as health workers are scrambling to trace contacts of club goers. Park said health workers have been attempting to contact some 1,940 people who were listed as visitors to the three Itaewon clubs and other venues nearby, but they have so far been able to reach only 637 of them.
According to Johns Hopkins University, South Korea has reported more than 10,800 coronavirus cases and 256 deaths.

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