South Korea’s capital has ordered the closure of all clubs and bars after a burst of new cases sparked fears of a second coronavirus wave, and President Moon Jae-in urged the public to remain vigilant.
The nation has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but the order from the Seoul mayor on Saturday followed a new infection cluster in Itaewon, one of the city’s busiest nightlife districts.
More than 50 cases so far have been linked to a 29-year-old man who tested positive after spending time at five clubs and bars in Itaewon
“Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections,” said Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, adding the order will remain in effect indefinitely.
Gyeonggi province — which surrounds Seoul with a population of around 12 million people — also ordered more than 5,700 entertainment facilities to suspend operations for two weeks starting Sunday. With around 7,200 people estimated to have visited the five establishments, health authorities have warned of a further spike in infections and have asked those who went to any of the venues to get tested.
Of the 34 new infections reported on Sunday, 24 were tied to the Itaewon cluster, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The spike in new infections came as everyday life in South Korea was slowly returning to normal, with the government relaxing social distancing rules last Wednesday.