Seoul, May 15 (IANS) South Korean health authorities said on Friday that this weekend will be a critical juncture in the country’s efforts to stem the further spread of the COVID-19 following cluster infections in a night-life zone in Seoul.
Twenty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were detected on Thursday, with 22 of them being local infections, bringing the nation’s total number to 11,018, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
Of the newly added cases, 17 were connected to bars and clubs in Seoul’s popular night-life district of Itaewon between April 24 and May 6, reports Yonhap News Agency citing the KCDC as saying.
As of Friday, a total of 153 people have tested positive in connection with the Itaewon outbreak, including 90 clubgoers and 63 of their family members, co-workers and contacts, indicating that secondary and tertiary infections from the nightclub cases have already emerged, the KCDC said.
In an effort to prevent the Itaewon infection cluster from expanding into a mass outbreak, health authorities said they will disinfect nightclubs and bars this weekend.
Besides the Itaewon cluster, the KCDC said a total of 15 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with a private academy instructor from Incheon.
The instructor has come under fire after lying about his occupation following his recent visit to a Itaewon club, Yonhpan News Agency reported.
South Korea’s virus deaths remained the same at 260, according to the KCDC, with the mortality rate reaching 2.37 per cent.
On May 6, the country switched to an “everyday life quarantine” and the normalization of public facilities and other business establishments, under the condition they follow basic sanitation measures.
However, due to the cluster cases, the country has decided to push back the reopening of schools by one week.