The situation was discovered after a man in his 20s tested positive for the virus May 6 after visiting bars and clubs in the capital’s popular nightlife district of Itaewon. More than 5,500 people visited the same entertainment facilities between April 24 and May 6. The health authorities have so far contacted about 2,400 of them to test them for the virus. But they cannot identify 3,100 others, raising worries about a second wave of infections.
Such worries have already turned into a reality. The virus suddenly spread from Itaewon to other parts of the country, including the southeastern port city of Busan and the resort island of Jeju. This has caused the Moon Jae-in administration to postpone the reopening of schools for high school seniors again by one week to May 20. It also dims the prospects for the phased resumption of school operations for all students.
Itaewon seems to have emerged as the nation’s second epicenter for COVID-19 after the southeastern city of Daegu, where the first wave of mass infections took place among members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in February. In this regard, the Itaewon incident is