Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon ordered the shutdown of all room salons, clubs, bars and discos across the city until April 19, Wednesday, after a coronavirus infection was reported at a room salon in the affluent Gangnam district.
|Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon speaks during a press conference on the COVID-19 outbreak on March 13 in Seoul./ Yonhap|
"New cases from a room salon in Gangnam is worrisome. Patients from the bar jeopardize public health for the entire city of Seoul and their inconsiderate behavior needs to be stopped," Park said. "I understand people are getting tired of social distancing. But we can't afford to let our guards down."
The growing number of infections in Seoul is worrying the city government. So far, 578 cases have been reported in the city. On Tuesday alone, Seoul added 11 new cases.
Infectious disease experts warned against large-scale infection clusters in Seoul, saying one would have devastating consequences. The capital has 10 million residents and is the most densely populated place in the country.
As far as the case involving the Gangnam room salon is concerned, the first confirmed patient is an employee of the business and had been in contact with 118 people, including other employees and room salon customers, according to the quarantine officials. "All were put into self-quarantine," the city said.
Infection clusters account for more than 80 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks in Korea.
Private cram schools are another potential breeding ground and many are also defying government recommendations. Despite the city's request, only 16 percent have shut down. The government has not given them direct orders to close yet.
On Wednesday, a new case was reported at an academy in Noryangjin where a student was confirmed to have been infected. Last week, a cram school teacher was confirmed to be infected.