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Night clubs and bars shut down in Seoul after new Covid-19 hotspot emerges in city’s main leisure district

Night clubs and bars shut down in Seoul after new Covid-19 hotspot emerges in city’s main leisure district
Authorities have cracked down on Seoul’s night life after reports of a young clubber infecting people with Covid-19 in South Korea’s capital. The nation now fears a new wave of infections after easing social distancing rules.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon warned that night clubs and bars will face “strict punishment” if they fail comply with the Saturday’s order to suspend business activities. The order will remain in effect until further notice.

The authorities have been on high alert after a new cluster of Covid-19 infections was linked to establishments in the city’s popular Itaewon neighborhood, known for its night life and parties.

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Health officials reported 15 new cases around Itaewon on Friday, with their number later growing to 40 nationwide on Saturday afternoon.

According to local media, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) traced 27 cases to a 29-year-old patient who tested positive for the novel coronavirus after visiting two convenience stores along with five clubs and bars last weekend.

The clubber apparently did not wear a mask during his trips. Up to 1,500 people are believed to have visited the establishments during the same time period.

South Korea was the second-hardest-hit country behind China during the early stages of the outbreak. However, the authorities managed to control the spread of the disease through mass testing and contact tracing, all while avoiding a nationwide lockdown.

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Quarantine measures were eased last month, and parliamentary elections were held on April 15, with voters being required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Last week, the government announced that it will further relax disease control rules, allowing public gatherings.

Until recently, the daily number of newly-recorded cases in the country had stayed below 20 for 20 consecutive days, and under five since Tuesday. The vast majority of new cases registered in recent week had come from overseas, it was reported.

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