South Korea reported fewer than 50 new cases of COVID-19 for the second day in a row on Tuesday, offering a degree of relief, as authorities urge young people to maintain physical distancing to stem the contagion.
Korea counted 47 new patients and six more deaths from the previous day, pushing the respective tallies to 10,331 and 192 as of Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.
The capital area added 14 and local epicenter Daegu notched an additional 13 virus patients due to cluster infections.
In Seoul, four patients were identified during airport screening and 10 were linked to Uijeongbu St. Mary’s Hospital, which emerged as a virus cluster last week, health authorities said.
“The desire to express energy and youth is the same worldwide, but nightclubs are highly concerning as clubgoers come into physical contact with each other in a closed space,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun during a COVID-19 meeting.
“We are worried about the younger generation (potentially) becoming ‘silent spreaders,’” he added.
Korea had 2,819 virus patients in their 20s, accounting for 27.2 percent of patients here, with those in their 50s making up the next-greatest proportion at 18 percent, according to government data.
Authorities are to focus their inspections on nightclubs and entertainment venues between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., as about 1 in 4 entertainment businesses were found to have violated government guidelines on social distancing.
Between March 22 and April 5, roughly 7,300 businesses out of 30,380 surveyed nationwide were given administrative guidance. Some 43 were issued administrative orders, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.
Amid concerns over packed clubs and bars potentially becoming clusters of infection, a female bar employee was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Thursday, it was revealed Tuesday.
The patient had worked a nine-hour shift at one of the biggest entertainment venues in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, and is believed to have come into contact with some 500 staff and customers during her shift on March 27-28. She first showed symptoms of the virus the following day.
Meanwhile, amid the continued influx of virus patients from overseas, 14 people tested positive upon arrival at airports and three after passing the airport checkpoints. Virus cases from overseas made up 37 percent of new infections here, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.
The number of patients declared free from COVID-19 and released from isolation rose by 96 to 6,694, showing a recovery rate of 64.8 percent.
So far, out of 477,304 people who have received virus testing, 446,323 turned out to be negative, figures showed.
By Kim Bo-gyung (email@example.com