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Seoul Nightclubs Close Again Following Coronavirus Infections
Christian Eede , May 11th, 2020 22:08

A 29-year-old patient who visited a number of venues in the city's Itaewon district has been linked to tens of new cases

Early hopes that Seoul's nighttime industry might be able to begin to recover following weeks of lockdown have been dashed after all nightlife businesses in the city were told to close over the weekend following a spike in coronavirus infections.

South Korea has been praised for its tight lockdown and system of testing, tracing and isolating COVID-19 cases, which meant that a number of lockdown measures were relaxed late last month. Now, however, more than 40 new cases have been discovered in Seoul, Mayor Park Won-soon said over the weekend – a significant increase on the single-digit new daily infections that had been reported in the period beforehand.

Many of these cases, the mayor said, are linked to nightclubs in Seoul's Itaewon district, where some clubs reopened late last month, albeit with social-distancing measures like reduced capacity and compulsory mask-wearing in place.

One patient in particular, a 29-year-old clubber who visited five clubs and bars, is said to be linked to tens of new cases that have been discovered in recent days. Health authorities say that more than 1,500 clubbers visited the affected clubs over the weekend that the clubber in question was in attendance, and they are now having trouble tracing many of these people.

The order for all of Seoul's nightlife establishments to close will remain in effect until further notice. "Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections – we clearly realised this through the group infections seen in the Itaewon club case," Mayor Park told a press briefing on Saturday (May 9), as Yonhap News Agency reports.