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(LEAD) Infections of 2 high school seniors, mother traced to instructor who visited Itaewon

All News 11:57 May 14, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with new infection figure in paras 2, 7, 8 and more details in paras 4-5, 9; CHANGES headline and dateline)

INCHEON, May 14 (Yonhap) -- An Incheon high school senior, who attended a private academy class taught by an instructor who lied about his occupation after his visit to a coronavirus hotbed in Seoul, and the student's friend and mother have tested positive for the virus, authorities said Thursday.

The three new infections raised the number of cases in Incheon tied to the latest cluster infection to 14.

Incheon's municipal government said the 18-year-old student, who recently received extracurricular lessons from the instructor, identified only as a 25-year-old man, at the private academy in Incheon, west of Seoul, and the student's mother, 42, were both confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.

The student took math lessons from the instructor for two hours each on May 4 and 11 before showing symptoms of a fever on May 7 and traveling to the academy by subway and bus four days later. The student's father and younger sister have tested negative.

One of the student's schoolmates has also tested positive, it said, adding the student and the mother are residents of Nonhyeon-dong of Namdong Ward.

This photo taken on May 13, 2020, shows a private academy in Incheon, where a coronavirus-infected instructor taught young students. (Yonhap)

The Incheon government has said it will file a criminal complaint against the instructor for lying about his occupation, though he tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday after visiting King Club, one of the Itaewon entertainment spots 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 had no occupation, though he has been teaching at the Incheon private academy.

So far, a total of 14 confirmed cases, including nine middle and high school students, have been traced to the instructor. The victims included a female middle school student privately tutored by the instructor, her twin brother and their mother.

Quarantine officials are seeking to prevent further infections among people who have come into contact with the 14 patients related to the academy instructor.

They are now conducting COVID-19 tests on about 850 out of 1,320 people who had direct or indirect contacts at various places in Incheon, including two churches, and 480 have so far tested negative, with the remainder waiting for results.

Citizens and officials have expressed anger toward the instructor, saying Incheon's cluster infections could have been prevented if the man had revealed his occupation from the beginning.

Cases linked to bars and nightclubs in Itaewon hit 120 as of Wednesday as secondary infections were mounting across the country.


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