Is South Korea threatened with a second wave?

Dhe incident is a good example of how resolutely and quickly the South Korean authorities are taking action against the spread of the coronavirus. On the night of May 1-2, a 29-year-old South Korean spent a social evening in five bars and nightclubs in the Itaewon district in Seoul – and, according to the authorities, spread the virus. By Sunday, 54 people, including club visitors, family members and work colleagues, had tested positive. The virus focus extends far beyond Seoul. During the hours in question, around 1,500 people had visited amusement areas in the district, which also hosts many homosexuals who are otherwise marginalized in Korea. The government knows the number of visitors so well because the clubs have to register everyone’s names and phone numbers.

Patrick Welter

Correspondent for business and politics in Japan based in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun issued instructions over the weekend to identify and find all around 1,500 people and to have them tested for the corona virus. Quite a few of the clubbers have given wrong numbers or do not answer the phone. An angry mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, therefore forbade the “entertainment industry” to open it indefinitely at the weekend. These include clubs and bars, karaoke bars and entertainment venues. It is only the second time since February that these establishments in the capital have to close due to viruses. The authorities assume that the number of infected people will increase significantly as a result of this incident.

As a result of the new infection focus, South Korea reported 34 new cases on Sunday. Most recently, the number had been higher on April 8. South Korea had actually got the virus under control by strictly monitoring infection cases and strict quarantine rules. The number of infected people is less than 11,000 and hardly increases. Most new infections have recently been introduced from the outside. 256 virus deaths were registered. South Korea had just relaxed the recommendations on social distance. The new infection focus, however, makes many South Koreans fear that another wave is imminent.


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