South Korea fears a new outbreak

The country recorded the highest number of new cases on Monday in a month, after the outbreak of a new outbreak in Seoul.

In Seoul, the screeching sound of alerts on smart phones is heard again at regular intervals to signal the detection of additional cases of COVID contamination – 19 near. After a series of several days with no new local infections last week, health authorities reported 35 new cases on Monday, the largest daily increase since April 9, bringing the national balance sheet to 10 909 contamination.

A cold shower for the country which had managed to flatten the curve without confining its 51 million inhabitants, and which now fears an outbreak of transmissions nationwide. Over the course of a weekend, Itaewon, a multicultural district of the capital famous for its unbridled nightlife, turned out to be a new center of infection after a man in his twenties virus visited five clubs and bars on the night of Friday 1 er to Saturday May 2.

As life gradually returned to normal with a relaxation last week of physical distancing measures in force since March and the reopening of schools this week, the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, has announced on Saturday the closure of all night establishments in the capital for at least one month. Since Saturday, the clubs and bars of Itaewon therefore remain closed and the adjoining streets abnormally deserted, a painful reminder that the crisis is not over.

“Among the 5517 people registered in the visitor registers [des clubs] obtained by the City, we managed to contact 2405, but we remain without news from the 3112 others, “deplored Mr. Park at an information meeting, before adding that “neglect can lead to an explosion of infections”. The frequentation of the clubs concerned by the gay community makes the tracing delicate against a background of fear of a forced “closet exit” or a stigmatization of the homosexual community.

Negligence can lead to an explosion of infections

– Park Won-soon

If homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, discrimination remains frequent, which leads a large number of homosexuals to hide their sexuality in the family and professional context. Some clients would therefore hesitate to get tested for fear that their sexual orientation would be made public. In order to encourage those who do not want to reveal their identity to come forward, the mayor of Seoul has assured, however, that the municipality will provide anonymous and free tests.

Aware of witnessing the beginnings of a second wave of infections, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on people to increase their vigilance during a speech marking the third anniversary of its mandate. South Korea, the second most affected state in the world by the epidemic behind China at the end of February, has attracted the praise of the international community thanks to its method “ Trace, test and treat ”, which allowed him, until last week, to contain the epidemic on his soil. Far from boasting of this status of model student, Mr. Moon also recalled that his country was “in a prolonged war”.