Seoul, May 11 (IANS) The number of new coronavirus infections linked to bars and clubs in Seoul’s popular nightlife district of Itaewon surged to 86 on Monday, South Korean health authorities said.
The number comprised 63 club-goers and 23 family members and friends who came in contact with the former, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said during a press briefing.
The new cluster infections underline the challenge of controlling infections after the country started easing social distancing rules and introducing a new daily life with COVID-19, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The government warned against a possible rapid growth of cluster infections since the first confirmed case on May 6, and urged visitors to the affected establishments to get tested.
“We request active cooperation from visitors to the Itaewon clubs from April 24-May 6. Please refrain from contacting others and receive a test at near testing centers, regardless of symptoms,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official said in a separate briefing on Monday.
The Seoul city government said it would provide free testing to club visitors, as it couldn’t get hold of a vast majority of them.
“Among 5,517 people on the visitor’s logs obtained by the city, we reached 2,405 but couldn’t do so with 3,112,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon as saying to the media on Monday.
“This means they intentionally avoided our calls or wrote a wrong number in the first place.”
In order to encourage those who don’t want to reveal their identities to come forward, the city will offer free, anonymous testing, he said.
The nation’s total COVID-19 infections increased to 10,909, while the death toll stood at 256.