Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday the government would have to take strong measures if people who visited clubs and bars in Itaewon, Seoul, during the extended holiday do not cooperate with virus tests.
The remark came as the number of confirmed cases jumped to 85 nationwide among visitors to one of the tourist destinations in the capital city during the April 30-May 5 holiday. Out of more than 7,000 estimated visitors, some 2,000 are beyond the reach of the public health authorities.
“Containing community spread in the Seoul metro region is the foremost task,” Chung said. “We should find thousands of visitors and test them as early as possible.”
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said that 85 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 related to the widespread infection in Itaewon and 51 of them are in the capital city. The City Hall had secured the list of 5,517 people who visited the places and contacted 2,405 as of Sunday afternoon. However, the other 3,112 are not answering the call, according to the mayor.
"Twenty-eight foreigners were also on the list contacted by the municipal government. There may be foreign residents without documents who visited the Itaewon clubs,” Park said. “However, we encourage them to receive tests without worrying about their identification revealed.”
Both Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi Province have issued virtual shutdown orders on all bars, clubs, dance halls and other entertainment spots by banning the gathering of people at these places for at least two weeks.
The nation reported 35 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, raising the total to 10,909, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals sent 42 more fully cured patients back to their homes, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 9,632. No new death case was reported, keeping the death toll at 256.
Concerns are mounting among people about the second wave of cluster infections amid the eased social-distancing campaign.
Parents of elementary and secondary school students are especially worried about the scheduled start of a new school year, starting with high school seniors on Wednesday.
Cho Hee-yeon, head of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, proposed to postpone the opening by a week. The government accepted Cho's proposal later in the day.
Meanwhile, the government began to receive applications from people wanting to receive emergency relief funds, ranging from 400,000 won to 1 million won ($328-$820) per a four-member family.
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