119 coronavirus cases in South Korea linked to Seoul clubs

119 coronavirus cases in South Korea are now linked to clubs in Seoul after ‘super-spreader’ visited several gay bars

  • A 29-year-old man was tracked by authorities after going to nightclubs in Seoul
  • He went out in Itaewon on May 1 and tested positive for Covid-19 next Thursday  
  • Authorities are using mobile phone data to tell nightclub visitors to get tested 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Night clubs in Seoul, South Korea, have been linked with 119 coronavirus cases nationwide after a ‘super-spreader’ visited a number of ‘gay bars’ in the Itaewon district.

A 29-year-old man, who is thought to be at the epicentre of the latest cluster of cases, was tracked by authorities after going to nightclubs in Itaewon. 

The man visited several bars on Friday May 1 and tested positive for Covid-19 the following Thursday.

Night clubs in Seoul have been linked with 119 coronavirus cases after a ‘super-spreader’ visited ‘gay bars’ in the area. Pictured, one of the three nightclubs in Seoul visited by a man, 29, who tested positive for coronavirus 

The nightclubs in question do not advertise themselves as gay venues but have been described as such by local media.  

The total number of cases linked to this cluster of Itaewon nightclubs increased to 119 as of Wednesday morning, Seoul officials said. 

Authorities are using mobile phone data to trace nightclub visitors and will deploy police to track down those who cannot be reached.

Data from the phone tower found 10,905 people were in the vicinity of the clubs between April 24 and May. They have all been texted and told to get tested. 

Health workers spray disinfectant on a street in the Itaewon district of Seoul on May 12. A 29-year-old man, thought to be at the epicentre of the latest cluster, was tracked by authorities after going to nightclubs in the area

South Korea’s capital shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after infections were linked to club goers who went out as the country relaxed social distancing guidelines.

Park said the entry bans on the facilities will be maintained until the city concludes that risks of infection have been meaningfully lowered. 

The country has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but a spike of new cases driven by the cluster of nightclubs forced authorities to delay this week’s planned re-opening of schools. 

Coronavirus screening has surged in South Korea since authorities introduced anonymous testing, officials said on Wednesday. 

Seoul authorities began carrying out tests anonymously this week and mayor Park Won-soon said than 8,300 people were tested in the city on Tuesday, compared to around 1,000 per day last week.

South Korea ‘s capital has shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after infections were linked to club goers who went out as the country relaxed social distancing guidelines. Pictured, health officials disinfect MADE, a major nightclub in Itaewon

‘This is proof that ensuring anonymity encourages voluntary tests,’ Park told reporters. 

Officials in the east Asian nation of 52 million announced 26 new cases Wednesday, taking its total to 10,962, after recording only single-digit increases for eight of the preceding 14 days – many of them overseas arrivals. 

How South Korea deals with this latest spike will be closely watched as parts of Europe begin a cautious re-opening.

Health experts in Europe and the United States have warned that moving too quickly could result in a surge in infection numbers.

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