SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s top infectious disease expert says the country could possibly push back plans to reopen schools if coronavirus infections surge again over the weekend after a weeks-long decline.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made the comments on Friday while addressing fears of a broader spread of COVID-19 in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area after health workers detected more than a dozen infections linked to nightclubs.
A slowing caseload in previous weeks had allowed officials to relax social distancing guidelines and schedule a reopening of schools, starting with high school seniors on May 13.
“At this moment, it’s too early to say whether we need to postpone the opening of schools, but we will monitor the spread of the virus and review information from our epidemiological investigations throughout today and tomorrow before determining the risks and discussing the matter with related ministries,” she said during a virus briefing.
The government issued an administrative order advising nightclubs, hostess bars and similar entertainment venues around the country to close for a month after officials detected at least 15 infections linked to a 29-year-old patient, who visited three clubs in Seoul’s Itaewon district on Saturday before testing positive on Wednesday.
Jeong said the patient did not wear masks inside the clubs and that the number of infections will likely rise as health workers are still tracing and testing his contacts.
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