Coronavirus: South Korea shuts bars just days after reopening after single man sparks new outbreak

South Korea is trying to reopen after getting the pandemic under control. Photo credit: Getty

Less than a week after reopening, thousands of South Korean bars and clubs have been shut down again after a single person sparked a new outbreak of COVID-19.

The man went out in Seoul last Saturday, South Korean health officials said, and now up to 40 new cases of the deadly disease have reportedly been linked to the bars he went to.

The 29-year-old didn't wear a mask. He wasn't aware he was infected, but tested positive on Tuesday.

More than 1500 people are believed to have visited the same three bars he went to, in the Itaewon area of the capital. Thousands more who went to other bars in the area have been urged to get tested. 

"Just because of a few people's carelessness, all our efforts so far can go to waste," said Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon.

A COVID-19 hotspot early in the pandemic, South Korea has been praised for getting the local outbreak under control. It's so far recorded nearly 11,000 confirmed cases and 256 deaths. 

The closure is indefinite, the New York Times reported.

"A second wave is inevitable," government epidemiologist Son Young-rae told the paper, "but we are running a constant monitoring and screening system throughout our society so that we can prevent it from exploding rapidly into hundreds or thousands of cases like the one we had in the past."

South Korea is among the first countries in the world to be trying to return to normal after getting the disease's spread under control.


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