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(2nd LD) 15 confirmed coronavirus cases related to Itaewon clubber including 3 foreigners

All News 12:57 May 08, 2020

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SEOUL/YONGIN, South Korea, May 8 (Yonhap) -- Thirteen more cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed Friday, associated with a patient who visited clubs and bars in Seoul's popular multicultural neighborhood of Itaewon over the weekend.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a briefing that 14 of the patient's contacts, including three foreign nationals and one Army officer, have so far tested positive for COVID-19.

The development has put the authorities, as well as the public, back on high alert for a possibly bigger outbreak amid lax social distancing measures introduced earlier this week.

The patient, whom health authorities consider a case of community transmission, traveled to parts of the country and visited five clubs and bars in Itaewon from Friday night to the early hours of Saturday last week.

The KCDC said an estimated 1,510 people or more visited the five nightlife establishments, including King Club, Trunk Club and Club Queen.

"It is highly likely that there are more cases down the road," Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said during a briefing.

The KCDC urged visitors to those clubs to self-isolate to limit the possible spread of the virus and to report to the authorities if they show COVID-19 symptoms.

It also asked people to stay at home if they were at King Club from midnight to 3:30 a.m., Trunk Club from 1-1:40 a.m. and Club Queen from 3:30-3:50 a.m.

The patient went to Itaewon at about 11 p.m. Friday with a friend, who later tested positive, and spent time at five clubs and bars till about 3:50 a.m. the following day.

He tested positive and was admitted to a hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Wednesday morning.

The 13 new cases include a 31-year-old co-worker of the patient who was confirmed earlier on Friday to have the virus. The two work in the same IT company based in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. The man, a Yongin resident, has been admitted to a hospital in Anseong in the same province.

The city of Yongin said it identified 58 contacts of the man in its jurisdiction, including 44 co-workers. The man's company has been shut down to stem the spread of the virus.

People walk past a dance club in the popular international district of Itaewon in Seoul on May 7, 2020. The club was shut down, as a man in his 20s who tested positive for COVID-19 visited the place on May 1. Some 500 people were reportedly there at that time. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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