South Korean super-spreader is linked to 54 new coronavirus cases

South Korean super-spreader is linked to 54 new coronavirus cases after one night out – and 7,000 people could have been exposed to the virus at clubs after they reopened

  • South Korea shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos 
  • Man, 29, who visited three clubs in Seoul has been linked to new virus cases
  • Number of infections could grow as health workers are scrambling to trace chain
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A South Korean super-spreader has been linked to dozens of new cases from one night out, amid panic after the Asian nation reopened.   

The total number of cases linked to three nightclubs in Itaewon in Seoul, visited by a 29-year-old patient who had tested positive for coronavirus, increased to 54 as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 

Authorities are estimating between 6,000 to 7,000 could have been exposed to the virus from clubs between April 29 and May 6, according to Bloomberg. 

South Korea’s capital has shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after infections were linked to club goers who went out last weekend as the country relaxed social distancing guidelines.

A 29-year-old man tested positive for coronavirus after visiting three clubs in the Itaewon district of Seoul, South Korea, last Saturday. He has been linked to 54 cases

The measures imposed yesterday by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon came after the national government urged entertainment venues around the nation to close or otherwise enforce anti-virus measures, including distancing, temperature checks, keeping customer lists and requiring employees to wear masks.

Park said the entry bans on the facilities will be maintained until the city concludes that risks of infection have been meaningfully lowered.

Eleven of the 54 confirmed cases are secondary infections. The infection rate is highest for those who visited King Club in Itaewon on May 2, and more than 30 per cent of the confirmed patients are asymptomatic. 

The number of infections could grow as health workers are scrambling to trace contacts of club goers. 

Park said health workers have been attempting to contact some 1,940 people who were listed as visitors to the three Itaewon clubs and other venues nearby, but they have so far been able to reach only 637 of them.

South Korea has confirmed at least 10,874 cases of the coronavirus, including 256 deaths.

Fewer cases in previous weeks had allowed for social distancing guidelines to be relaxed and a phased reopening of schools.

This picture shows one of the three nightclubs in Seoul visited by a man in his 20s who tested positive for the new coronavirus 

A notice of guidelines that entertainment facilities should follow is posted at the entrance of a nightclub in Seoul yesterday

The country were the first to re-start their top football league again, K-League, with matches taking place from May 8 behind closed doors.  

Jeonbuk Motors took on Suwon Bluewings on May 8 and won 1-0, scoring after 83 minutes. The game was originally scheduled for February 29.    

The rules say there are no pre-match handshakes and players have been warned they cannot speak to one another during the course of a game while coaches are to wear face masks at all times during games. 

Incheon United captain Kim Do-hyeok said that not talking to team-mates is impossible and will pose difficulties for his side. 

He added that rules such as not spitting they could do no problem but added: ‘If we can’t have conversations on the field, we may as well not play at all’.  

In mid-April, South Korea appeared to be dealing well with the outbreak and was widely praised for mass testing and its contact-tracing strategy which other countries sought to emulate. 

They reported just eight new cases on April 19. It was the first time the nation’s daily increased dropped to single figures in two months.  

It had 10,661 cases of the virus which, at that point, had killed 234 people in South Korea. There were 8,042 patients recovered and released from quarantine. 

The football league has returned behind closed doors. Cheer banners from fans are placed on seats in the stadium prior to the opening of the game 

There are no pre-match handshakes and players are not allowed to talk to each other during the game while coaches are required to wear face masks 

The country reported zero new domestic coronavirus cases on April 30.  

There were fears in South Korea throughout April that people were becoming ‘reinfected’ as people who had had coronavirus tested positive again. 

South Korean officials later revealed that 292 patients feared to have been ‘reinfected’ were given false positive results.  

President Moon Jae-in said: ‘We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered.’

Officials warned of the possibility of a ‘quiet spread’ when people eased up on social distancing despite the rapid downward trend. 

Seoul started its testing programme when the numbers were still small, telling companies to develop testing kits as early as January 27.    

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