Coronavirus updates: South Korean fears second wave as it cautiously reopens
May 11 2020
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the number of confirmed cases traceable to the Itaewon cluster infection totaled 54 as of midday Sunday local time.
Most of the cases in the past few days were linked to nightclubs in Seoul's Itaewon entertainment neighbourhood. A 29-year-old man tested positive for the coronavirus after visiting several clubs and bars there last weekend.
The governor of Gyeonggi province, which surrounds Seoul, followed suit on Sunday, ordering over 5,7000 entertainment facilities to close down for two weeks.
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.
"Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections", Seoul mayor Park Won-soon said, adding the order will remain in effect indefinitely.
Following a special address marking the third anniversary of his inauguration, President Moon pointed out that the two Koreas share the 248-kilometer-long Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as a land border, a potential transmission route.
Last week, South Korea shifted to a relaxed, everyday form of social distancing, allowing people to resume outdoor activities and public events, including holding spectator-free professional sports games and religious services. He vowed to turn crisis into opportunity, stressing that South Korea's goal is taking the lead in the world.
"It is worth pushing actively as a priority because it does not infringe upon UN Security Council sanctions, and contributes to hygiene and health of all people both in the South and the North", Moon said of coronavirus cooperation. During a special public address on Sunday to mark his third year in office, Moon stressed that although we can not lower our guard yet, . the government will use the relatively rapid stabilization phase as a turning point for enhancing economic vitality.
President Moon said Sunday the new cluster had "raised awareness that even during the stabilisation phase, similar situations can arise again anytime".
Responding to a question on how prepared South Korea is for another outbreak, Mr Son had said the country's surveillance system and screening capability would be able to identify a potential spread linked to a confirmed case nearly immediately.
After successfully curbing the massive outbreak of novel coronavirus, a new virus cluster has emerged in South Korea, sparking fears of a second wave of infection.
"A second outbreak will be inevitable at some point but it will not be like the first wave that saw an explosive surge", said Mr Son.