Seoul Mayor says new cluster of cases linked to nightclub is "another lesson for us"


People wait in line at a coronavirus testing station in the nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul, South Korea, on May 12.  Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images
In an interview with CNN, the mayor of Seoul called the new cluster of coronavirus cases in the country “another lesson for us” and that “we should always be alert” as the reemergence of the virus can happen any place and any time.
In a briefing earlier, the mayor said over 100 cases of coronavirus have been linked to a nightclub cluster in South Korea. The cluster emerged in the capital's Itaewon entertainment district over the past few days, raising fears of a second wave of infections.
Speaking with Paula Hancocks in Seoul, Mayor Park Won-soon said Tuesday “We cannot be safe even though we have zero cases for a long time and anytime the outbreak can come to our society.”
Park said the stakes were high in containing and outbreak in the capital metro area with 25 million people. He said if “the disease penetrates Seoul, the Korean peninsula is penetrated.”
Park also called the virus a “battle of time” and that the government should be finished tracing potential cases from the Itaewon district within the week.
Some background: This week government officials have warned against the stigmatization of the virus in the LGBT community as the cluster of night clubs in question in the Itaewon district that is known to cater to LGBT patrons. Homophobia is still rife in South Korea and the country is less accepting of same-sex couples when compared to nearby democracies like Japan and Taiwan.
Park said the government is working closely to ensure patient confidentially.
“We guaranteed the anonymous testing, and also we declared such information to not be used for any other purposes, and we should erase any kind of information, Park said.
Park added that the government guarantees led to an increase in people getting tested on Monday and Tuesday.
When pressed if it was the right decision to reopen nightclubs before other venues like schools, Park said the country had to prepare for the expansion of the virus alongside allowing life to continue. “There is high demand of the citizens to allow some extent of activities including the economic activities” he said.


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