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(LEAD) Seoul mayor orders clubs, bars to close in anti-virus measure

15:41 April 08, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 6, 10-12)

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Wednesday issued a de facto business suspension order on clubs and bars across the city following COVID-19 infections linked to a bar in the ritzy neighborhood of Gangnam.

"(I) issue an order on banning gatherings at 'room salons,' clubs and 'colatheques' until the government's social distancing campaign ends on April 19," Park told reporters in a press briefing, referring to bars where mostly women serve drinks and a local version of discos.

"This means that these facilities cannot do business. ... I've literally ordered a business suspension," he said.

Park said that 422 of the city's 2,146 bars and clubs are in operation despite the city government's advisory to temporarily suspend business.

The administrative order was issued as "close contact often occurs in these venues and it is almost impossible for virus guidelines to be kept there," he added.

A notice on temporary closure is seen in front of a bar in the southeastern Seoul neighborhood of Gangnam on April 8, 2020. An employee there was infected with the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

The Wednesday announcement follows infections reported in relation to a popular bar in Gangnam where hundreds of people visit on busy days.

A female employee and her roommate tested positive for the new coronavirus after the employee met Jung Yun-hak, the leader of K-pop boy band SUPERNOVA. Jung had tested positive after a visit to Japan.

A total of 118 people, including employees and customers, are assumed to have come into contact with the infected employee.

Health authorities are screening all potential cases, with 18 people testing negative so far.

South Korea reported 53 more cases Wednesday, bringing the country's total infections to 10,384. The figure includes 11 new cases reported in Seoul.

A majority of the infections here are attributed to imported cases and cluster infections at religious facilities, workplaces and hospitals.

In efforts to contain the virus, South Korea has closed schools and advised churches and indoor sports facilities from holding masses and classes. The government expanded the advisory to private-sector cram schools Wednesday.

mlee@yna.co.kr
(END)

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