SEOUL SHUTS BARS AND CLUBS DAYS AFTER REOPENING DUE TO VIRUS CLUSTER
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Ethan Brooke/Unsplash
Just days after reopening, South Korean capital Seoul’s more than 2,100 bars have to shut again due to a cluster of new coronavirus cases involving at least 86 people.
South Korean officials reported 35 new cases in the morning today, but by noon a total of 86 cases had been linked to the cluster.
The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) at first thought the cases were triggered by a 29-year-old man who tested positive after spending an evening at five clubs and bars in the Itaewon area last Saturday.
But KCDC later said there appeared to be multiple origins for the cluster. Health officials are now struggling to trace thousands of people who have visited clubs and bars in the Itaewon nightlife area.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon urged everyone who visited the district over a two-week period to get tested and stay at home to avoid infecting other people.
All clubs, bars and other nightlife establishments are now ordered to close.
“Such facilities have to suspend business immediately and will face strict punishment if they breach,” said Park.
“Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections, we can see this from the cluster of infections seen in the Itaewon club case,” he added.
Nightlife venues were allowed to reopen in Seoul last week following weeks of lockdown as authorities battled to contain the virus.
South Korea’s success in containing the first wave of infections through vigorous testing and contact tracing has made the country a global model.
The country’s decision to allow bars and clubs to reopen last week was closely watched by on-trade businesses all over the world.
Many of them will certainly feel frustrated that Seoul’s bars have to close again less than one week after reopening.
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