South Korea has reported 34 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily tally in about a month, following an outbreak tied to several nightclubs and bars.
The total is the highest since 9 April. After battling the first major epidemic outside China.
More than 26 of the the new cases were domestically transmitted infections and eight were imported cases, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
Authorities had recently identified a 29-year-old man who tested positive for the virus after visiting five nightclubs and bars in the commercial district. They believe as many as 1,500 people were in attendance during the time the man said he visited those clubs over the weekend on 1 May.
The outbreak prompted Seoul city to impose an immediate temporary shutdown of all clubs and entertainment facilities on Saturday. The city said it is tracking down about 1,500 people who attended the clubs, and has asked anyone who was there last weekend to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested. Overall, at least 54 cases have been linked to that outbreak, including 43 nightclub patrons and another 11 people acquainted with the clubgoers.
President Moon Jae-in warned of a second wave of the epidemic later this year, saying the recent cluster underscored the risks that the virus which causes Covid-19 can spread widely again at any time. “It’s not over until it’s over. While keeping enhanced alertness until the end, we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention,” he said in a televised speech marking the third anniversary of his inauguration.
Global health experts have praised South Korea for its rapid and thorough response in curbing the outbreak of the virus.Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have helped Asia’s fourth largest economy contain the epidemic without extensive lockdowns. In total, the country has seen at least 10,874 infections and 256 deaths.