After successfully curbing the massive outbreak of novel coronavirus, a new virus cluster has emerged in South Korea, sparking fears of a second wave of infection. It's linked to the nightclubs and bars in capital Seoul's Itaewon. The grim news comes at a time when the county had started to relax social distancing norms and resume outdoor activities and public events.
South Korea reports the biggest single-day jump in Coronavirus cases
On Sunday, South Korea reported 34 new coronavirus cases, the highest, reported in a single day since April 9, when the country witnessed 39 new cases, Yonhap News Agency reported. The number of cases being reported declined since then, with 32 cases reported on April 12 and less than 30 cases reported, thereafter.
The new cases are linked to Seoul's bars and nightclubs, after a 29-year-old COVID-19 patient visited as many as five such places from the night of May 1 to the early hours of the following morning. He developed symptoms later that day and tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. In this span of time, he came in contact with around 1,500 people. As many as 40 people, linked to the new cluster had already tested positive, as on Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun instructed officials to identify an estimated 1,510 people who visited clubs in Itaewon last week and test them for the novel coronavirus. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [KCDC] has urged them to self-isolate. Also, Seoul's Mayor Park Won-soon has imposed an administrative order to close clubs, bars and other nightlife establishments in Seoul. The order will remain in place until further notice, no date for which has been announced.
Why is South Korea's new cluster of coronavirus cases important?
Cases emerged just when the country had started to relax social-distancing norms, ease restrictions and re-open the country. This was no small feat for the East Asian nation which in early March had the highest number of cases, outside China. It defeated the deadly contagion through testing, tracing and proper treatment.
The fresh wave of infections has stoked fear of a second wave in the country. At the same time, it also serves as a warning to the world of how to re-open their own countries. As on Sunday, South Korea has reported 10,874 COVID-19 cases along with 256 fatalities, according to KCDC.