South Korea on Friday reported 20 new coronavirus cases as cluster infections and imported cases have increased over the past few days in the country that was earlier praised for its effective containment measures.
Over 200 Infections Linked to Itaewon Nightclubs' Patient Zero
Health experts said the rise in new COVID-19 cases in the country was driven by a cluster detected in Itaewon's nightlife center earlier this month. So far, at least 207 cases have been linked to the 29-year-old man considered as patient zero in the Itaewon cluster.
Seoul health authorities are scrambling to stop the infections from increasing further through widespread testing on people who either visited the clubs where patient zero was in or testing the acquaintances of those who were in contact with people who were in the clubs in question.
Between the period of April 24 and May 6, the South Korean health authority has already carried out over 77,000 tests as part of the efforts to hopefully block the outbreak of a second wave.
New imported cases in the country have also been of concern to the government as it tries to control community transmissions. On Friday alone, 11 of the total new cases had travel history overseas.
More Contacts Infected than Nightclub Visitors
The bigger problem stemming from the Itaewon cluster is the data that showed a bigger number of the infected were contacts of those who visited nightclubs.
Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Kwon Jun-wook said 111 of the cases linked to the Itaewon cluster are contacts while only 95 were direct nightclub visitors.
Kwon noted that to help the government in its battle against the coronavirus, South Koreans should maintain personal hygiene, practice proper social distancing, and make sure to always observe cough etiquette.
Student Tests Positive in Daegu High School
On Thursday, the Daegu Agricultural Meister High School shut down roughly a day after it reopened after a senior student was confirmed to have contracted the highly-infectious COVID-19 strain.
The Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education revealed that after the new case was confirmed, all other students in the said high school were either placed under quarantine or told to go home.
A total of 17 students at the school dorm where the infected student went to on Tuesday afternoon have been placed under quarantine, while the remaining 94 students were sent home to prevent potential infection.
The high school's facilities will be closed for two days so health authorities in Daegu can perform disinfection and classes will resume online in the meantime. 18 students who were in direct contact with the infected patient will have to take COVID-19 tests as part of the protocols.
As of Friday, South Korea registered a total of 11,142 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 264 deaths from the fast-spreading disease.