|People fill a street near Hongik University in western Seoul in this Nov. 13, 2020 photo. Korea Times file|
By Bahk Eun-ji
The number of COVID-19 cases linked to a gathering of language instructors working at private academies in Gyeonggi Province has increased to 132, according to health authorities and provincial government, Monday.
The authorities said that six foreign language instructors who work at institutes in Seongnam, Bucheon, Goyang and Uijeongbu in the province were infected with the virus after attending a gathering at a bar near Hongik University in western Seoul on June 19.
The infected instructors then transmitted the virus to students and colleagues at the academies and their family members, with the cumulative number of confirmed cases growing to 132 ― 54 in Seongnam, 28 in Goyang, 19 in Bucheon and 23 in Uijeongbu.
The authorities are examining if those who tested positive are infected with a variant, considering the fast speed of transmission that surpassed 130 cases in six days since the first case was confirmed on June 22.
Also under investigation is whether the six instructors made plans to gather together at the bar or ran into each other by chance.
Private gatherings of more than four people have been banned since early this year under social distancing regulations.
Besides the instructors, 16 others who visited the bar have also tested positive for COVID-19.