After reporting less than 10 coronavirus cases for five days straight, South Korea reported as many as 12 COVID-19 cases on Friday. These are those cases that were confirmed on Thursday, till midnight. Around 13 new cases have been confirmed since then.
After the successful containment of the disease outbreak, that burgeoned in February and March, authorities have identified a new coronavirus cluster linked to its nightclubs.
South Korea identifies new coronavirus cluster
The new coronavirus cluster in South Korea is linked to a 29-year-old man, who visited as many as three nightclubs in capital Seoul's Itaewon neighbourhood, on last Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2. He developed symptoms late on Saturday, authorities said. Close to 1,500 people have been exposed to the deadly contagion, at least 12 of whom have tested positive for coronavirus. Those twelve patients include three foreigners and a South Korean soldier.
Other than the three nightclubs, the 29-year-old man, who's an IT company employee, wandered around capital Seoul and four neighbouring cities, over the long weekend at the start of this month, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [KCDC] said on Friday.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip has urged people who visited the clubs in Itaewon, early on Saturday, to stay home and contact authorities if they develop symptoms. "It is highly likely that there are more cases down the road", he said on Friday, South China Morning Post reported. The case occurred in circumstances "where it is very hard to track patients' movements", he said. "It is like dropping a blob of ink into clean water," he added.
South Korea faces a huge setback
This is a huge setback for South Korea that worked hard to contain the disease outbreak, which increased immensely in February after a cluster linked to a secretive religious sect was discovered. At one point, the country had the highest number of cases outside China, the initial epicentre of coronavirus.
The East Asian nation contained the outbreak, not by imposing strict lockdowns, as was done in China, but by devising a strategy of testing and contact tracing. As on Friday, South Korea has reported 10,822 COVID-19 cases and 256 fatalities.