South Korea closes bars and clubs; fears second wave of COVID-19

WION Web Team
SeoulUpdated: May 08, 2020, 04:41 PM IST

WION Web Team

Story highlights

The government has advised nightclubs, bars and similar venues around the country to close for a month.

South Korea was applauded for the way the country handled coronavirus.  However, a new group of 25 coronavirus cases have been reported on Friday in Seoul's popular multicultural neighbourhood of Itaewon.

After the cases were reported, South Korean government on Friday issued an advisory to clubs, bars and all other social events venues to suspend the business for a month. The advisory will come into place from 8pm on Friday, Yonhap, a local news agency, reported.

While it is not compulsory for clubs and bars to temporarily suspend their business, if they are found as a source of coronavirus, the respective venue could lose their license forever.

Schools were also to reopen from next month. However, the government is now considering postponing the reopening of schools.

“At this moment, it’s too early to say whether we need to postpone the opening of schools, but we will monitor the spread of the virus and review information from investigations of the new cases," said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a virus briefing.

The health officials have linked almost 15 infections to a 29-year-old patient who visited three clubs in Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday. He was tested positive on Wednesday. The patient was not wearing a mask in the nightclub, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip reported that 13 of the new cases were office colleagues of the patient and others were fellow clubgoers, including three foreigners and a soldier.

Kim Gang-lip has cautioned the public and has advised people to follow the rules of social distancing. “A drop of ink in clear water spreads swiftly. Anyone can become that drop of ink that spreads COVID-19,” he said during a briefing.

While the decision on resuming the schools is still pending, South Korean government has urged the people to practice social distancing and other rules which have been set in place to avoid a second wave of the deadly coronavirus.

South Korea has reported more than 10,800 cases and 256 deaths from COVID-19.