South Korea man linked to 17 new Covid-19 cases, resulted in 2,000 bars shutting in Seoul

Restrictions were initially lifted but recent cases show all is not normal.

Belmont Lay | May 10, 2020, 09:05 PM

More than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos in Seoul, South Korea have been shut down after 17 new Covid-19 cases emerged and are all linked to one 29-year-old man.

He visited five clubs in Seoul's Itaewon district on Saturday, May 3, before testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

The man did not wear a mask inside the venues, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The closures come after 18 fresh infections were confirmed in the 24 hours to midnight on Friday -- all except one case was linked to the man.

Thousands at risk

Initial visitors lists reveal that there were more than 1,500 customers combined in three of those premises on Saturday.

Health authorities then warned of a further spike in infections, with around 7,200 people estimated to have visited the five establishments.

Subsequently, it was confirmed that there were another 16 cases in the city, taking the total linked to clubbers to 40.

They included 27 in Seoul, 12 in neighbouring Incheon and Gyeonggi province towns, and one in the southern port city of Busan.

Officials have urged people who visited King Club, Trunk Club and Club Queen between April 29 and May 6 to have screening tests.

They have also been asked to avoid going out.

All nightclubs and hostess bars in the country have been advised to close for a month.

People in Korea went back to entertainment venues on the first weekend of May after the government relaxed some social distancing guidelines.

The venues had to adhere to measures such as taking temperature, making workers wear masks, and maintain lists of customers.

Life returning back to normal

This is the first time in five days that there were more than 10 daily cases.

Officials say it is too early to confirm whether school will still reopen next week, but added they will monitor the spread of the virus.

South Korea has been praised for keeping the pandemic under control after a massive surge initially.

Facilities like museums and churches have returned to business and some professional sports, including baseball and soccer, have begun new seasons.

The country reported 34 new cases on Sunday -- its largest daily increase in a month -- taking the total to 10,874.

There had been 256 deaths from the virus.

Top photo via Unsplash