South Korea health authorities said on Monday June 22 that the country is in the midst of a "second wave" of Covid-19 infections focused around its densely populated capital of Seoul, Reuters reported.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) director Jeong Eun-kyeong said it had become clear that a holiday weekend in early May marked the beginning of a new wave of infections focused in the greater Seoul area, which had previously seen few cases.
KCDC had previously said South Korea's first wave had never really ended.
“In the metropolitan area, we believe that the first wave was from March to April as well as February to March," Jeong said at a regular briefing.
"Then we see that the second wave which was triggered by the May holiday has been going on.”
At the end of February, South Korea reported a peak of more than 900 cases in a day.
The country saw the first large outbreak of Covid-19 outside of China.
But South Korea brought the number of infections to single digits by late April following intensive tracking and testing.
But new cases spiked just as the country announced it would be easing social distancing guidelines in early May.
This wave was due to infections among young people who visited nightclubs and bars in Seoul over the holiday weekend.
This led to some forecasting errors.
"We originally predicted that the second wave would emerge in fall or winter," Jeong said.
"Our forecast turned out to be wrong. As long as people have close contact with others, we believe that infections will continue."
However, Jeong also said that as long as people maintain two-metre spacing, they may take off masks in certain circumstances in hot weather, even as she called for vigilance.
As of midnight of June 21, South Korea reported 17 new coronavirus cases.
This was the first time in nearly a month that daily new cases had dropped below 20.
It was a drop from the 48 and 67 cases reported in the previous two days.
South Korea has reported a total of 12,438 cases, with 280 deaths.
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