Health officials urge young people to refrain from visiting dance clubs and bars

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : May 22, 2020, 17:13 | Updated : May 22, 2020, 17:13

[Aju News DB]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top health official made an ardent appeal to young people, saying they should refrain from visiting dance clubs, bars and singing rooms as a COVID-19 outbreak that began in a shopping and entertainment district in Seoul continue to cause incessant community infections.

The national epidemic control tower reported 20 new infections on May 21. The death toll remained unchanged at 264 and 716 patients are under treatment at designated hospitals.

Health officials have achieved a certain degree of success in their battle to contain the spread of COVID-19 from the epicenter of LGBTQ nightlife in an international tourist hotspot in Itaewon to other areas since the first patient was detected on May 6. They are still concerned about asymptomatic infection among young people who have visited dance clubs and bars.

Data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) showed that the total number of COVID-19 patients stood at 11,000. Young people in their 20s accounted for 28 percent or 3,100 people. About 43 percent of 335 cases reported since May 6 were from those in their 20s.

KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong warned that young patients may not show any symptoms and infect other vulnerable groups. She urged young people to refrain from visiting enclosed and dense multi-use entertainment facilities such as dance clubs, bars and singing rooms.

"As COVID-19 is prolonged, young people must have been uncomfortable with a long period of social distancing, and I think there must have been a lot of stress and depression due to difficulties in studying and getting a job. However, for the safety of the social community and the health of the youth, it is time to create a harmony between youth culture and anti-epidemic measures in daily life," Jeong said.

Genetic analysis showed that infections in Itaewon appeared to have been caused by viruses from the United States and Europe, KCDC officials said.
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