Seoul, May 8 (efe-epa).- A fresh COVID-19 outbreak in Seoul’s popular neighbrhood has become a cause of concern for South Korean authorities at a time when the Asian country was moving to relax social distancing measures amid adeclining number of cases.
On Friday, 13 new cases linked to an outbreak in Seoul’s Itaewon district nightclubs were reported, taking the number of infections in the area to 15.
These figures dealt a heavy blow as in the past few days South Korea had been reporting less 10 new infections daily and nearly none of them were cases of community transmission with majority of them being imported cases.
On Tuesday a 29-year-old male, who had visited five nightclubs and bars in Itaewon on May 2, became the first person to test positive in this new outbreak.
On Thursday, one of his friends who had accompanied him that night was diagnosed with the infection and a day later, 13 others who had been to those nightclubs tested positive for COVID-19.
The report of this new outbreak comes the same week South Korea relaxed social distancing measures which included gradual re-opening of schools and museums given the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the country which had not recorded locally originated infections in three consecutive days.
For the moment, amid resurgence of the new outbreak, the government has decided to ask all nightclubs to remain shut for a month.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said that at least 1,510 people had been to five of those establishments at the same time as those individuals who tested positive, according to the record of those places where it was mandatory for clients to provide details.
So far, 118 of these 1,510 people have been tested and the authorities are trying track all of them.
However, it is feared that it would be more complicated than usual as at least three of the five establishments are linked to the LGBTQ community, which suffers deep biases in South Korea.
Therefore, some experts believe that many visitors could have given false data at the time of entry into these places and could even be reluctant to test for infection so as to not alarm their families or colleagues. EFE-EPA