New ‘cluster’ referred to by BBC only hints at real story as Johnson prepared to relax lock-down
The South Korean government issued an emergency order on Friday for the closure of all bars in Seoul after a single clubber infected at least 40 people and exposed over 1,900 more to the coronavirus. The closure is indefinite.
The authorities were forced to trace the contacts of the 29-year-old man, who has not been named, after his night out in the Itaewon district of Seoul – and have so far found at least forty people confirmed with the infection. The country had previously been free of domestic transmission of the virus after an extensive and rigorous programme of testing, tracing and isolating as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The man is believed to have been asymptomatic – like half to three quarters of all coronavirus-infected people at any given time.
The BBC News channel has reported the move and described it as a response to ‘a new cluster’, but so far does not appear to have included the detail that a single infected source was involved. Warning that the country will be judged on its ability to prevent the spread of the infection beyond the Itaewon cluster, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun gave details of the incident:
It seems that community spread occurred from a silent spreader who visited nightlife spots during the long holiday from April 30 to May 5.
South Korea’s proactive test-and-trace programme has enabled the country to limit coronavirus deaths to just 236 as of yesterday, without a lock-down. The UK government ignored the WHO recommendations and has seen over 32,000 deaths according to official figures, but the real toll is thought by many experts to be much higher – with some estimating as many as 70,000 or more.
In spite of the continuing high infection and death rates in the UK, which have made this country the worst-performing major nation in the world in fighting the pandemic, Boris Johnson is expected to announce a relaxation of the lock-down this evening. This has been attributed to pressure from the Conservatives’ corporate backers, though Johnson is likely to once again claim a scientific basis for the decision.
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