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(2nd LD) Instructor in trouble for lying about occupation after visit to Itaewon

All News 23:00 May 13, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info throughout)

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- Municipal authorities of Incheon, west of Seoul, said Wednesday they are planning to file a criminal complaint against a private academy instructor for lying about his occupation after his recent visit to a club in Seoul's Itaewon district, which has resulted in a cluster of coronavirus infections involving himself and 11 others, including his students.

The instructor, identified only as a 25-year-old man, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday after visiting King Club, one of Itaewon's entertainment spots that are emerging as a hotbed of the coronavirus, on the night of May 2.

The man, a university senior, reportedly told Incheon's quarantine officials in an early interview that he has no occupation, though he has been teaching at a private academy in the port city, about 50 kilometers west of Seoul.

A private academy is closed in Incheon, where a cluster of coronavirus infections has been traced to an instructor who visited an Itaewon club, on May 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

As his statements did not match his movements, quarantine officials and police conducted a probe into his mobile phone location information and found he has taught young students at a private academy in Incheon's Michuhol Ward.

So far, five high school students attending the Incheon academy have tested positive for the coronavirus. A female middle school student privately tutored by him, her twin brother and their mother have also contracted the virus. In addition, the twin brother's private tutor and one of the academy's instructors have been confirmed to be infected.

Quarantine officials are seeking to prevent infections among people who have come into contact with the 11 patients related to the academy.

They plan to conduct COVID-19 tests on 40 people who had direct contacts and another 378 students, as well as on 1,055 people who went to Sunday services at two separate churches in Incheon.

Meanwhile, public outrage has mounted over the instructor's dishonesty and his visit to a crowded club amid the social distancing campaign.

"At first, the man said he has no job but confessed later he is an instructor. How come he's that irresponsible as a teacher?" said an Incheon citizen in an online cafe.

Many other citizens also expressed anger toward the instructor for lying about his occupation and spreading the virus. They said that infections could have been prevented if the instructor had revealed his occupation from the beginning.

Concerns also mounted after infections were reported among people who visited other facilities in Itaewon or the university district of Hongdae in western Seoul, which has made the situation more challenging for health authorities.

Five of six people who visited a bar in the Hongdae area have tested positive for COVID-19, health authorities said.

South Korea on Wednesday reported 26 more coronavirus cases following the cluster infection linked to clubs and bars in Seoul. The number of cases connected to bars and clubs in Itaewon has approached 120 amid growing concerns over a possible new wave of infections.


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