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Seoul mayor orders bars, clubs shut after new Covid-19 cases in South Korea

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Issued on: 10/05/2020 – 07:49Modified: 10/05/2020 – 07:49

South Korea's capital has ordered the closure of all clubs and bars after a burst of new cases sparked fears of a second coronavirus wave as President Moon Jae-in urged the public to remain vigilant.

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The nation has been held up as a global model in how to curb the virus, but the order from the Seoul mayor on Saturday followed the new infection cluster in Itaewon, one of the city's busiest nightlife districts.

More than two dozen cases were linked to a 29-year-old man who tested positive after spending time at five clubs and bars in Itaewon last weekend.

Health authorities have warned of a further spike in infections, with around 7,200 people estimated to have visited the five establishments identified.

"Carelessness can lead to an explosion in infections," Seoul mayor Park Won-soon said, adding the order will remain in effect indefinitely.

Park asked those who visited those clubs and bars to come forward voluntarily.

Of the 18 new South Korean cases reported on Saturday, 17 were tied to the Itaewon cluster, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The jump in new infections comes as everyday life in South Korea has slowly started returning to normal, with the government relaxing social distancing rules last Wednesday.

President Moon said Sunday that the fresh infection cluster had "raised awareness that even during the stabilisation phase, similar situations can arise again anytime".

'Not over'

"It's not over until it's over," Moon said during a speech marking his third anniversary of taking office.

"While keeping enhanced alertness till the end, we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention," he added.

Moon has enjoyed growing public support on the back of his government's handling of the virus, which led to a landslide victory for his ruling party at last month's parliamentary elections.

The country reported 34 new cases on Sunday — its largest daily increase in a month — taking the total to 1Read More – Source