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Infection cases linked to Itaewon clubs rise to 79

All News 12:41 May 11, 2020

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- The number of new coronavirus infections connected to bars and clubs in Seoul's popular nightlife district of Itaewon climbed to 79 on Monday, health authorities said.

"As of 8 a.m. this morning, six more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of patients related to the case to 79," said Yoon Tae-ho, a senior official at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.

The new cluster infections underline the challenge of controlling infections after the country started easing social distancing rules and introducing a new daily life with COVID-19.

He warned against a possible rapid growth of cluster infections since the first confirmed case on Wednesday, and urged visitors to the affected establishments to get tested.

"We request active cooperation from visitors to the Itaewon clubs from April 24-May 6. Please refrain from contacting others and receive a test at near testing centers, regardless of symptoms," he said.

A separate tally by the Seoul metropolitan government put the number of the group infection at 85 as of 10 a.m.

The city said it would provide free testing to club visitors, as it couldn't get hold of a vast majority of them.

"Among 5,517 people on the visitor's logs obtained by the city, we reached 2,405 but couldn't do so with 3,112," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said during a briefing. "This means they intentionally avoided our calls or wrote a wrong number in the first place."

In order to encourage those who don't want to reveal their identities to come forward, the city will offer free, anonymous testing, he said.

The country reported 35 more cases of the new coronavirus Monday, the biggest single day spike since April 9, bringing the nation's total infections to 10,909.

People pass by a club in the multicultural district of Itaewon in Seoul on May 7, 2020. The club was shut down after some of its visitors tested positive for the coronavirus recently. (Yonhap)


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