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(LEAD) Two COVID-19 cases linked to Bucheon film fest reported

20:49 July 15, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS details of fest closing in last 3 paras)

BUCHEON, South Korea, July 15 (Yonhap) -- Two COVID-19 cases linked to the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) have been reported, as South Korea is struggling with a surge in new cases, the event's organizers said Thursday.

According to BIFAN, which kicked off on July 8 in Bucheon, just west of Seoul, one visitor tested positive for the virus after attending an outdoor event last Friday.

Local health authorities said they have kept close tabs on other participants in the event, but no further infection has been reported yet.

In addition, an official from the festival's technical service team was diagnosed with COVID-19 last Saturday.

The BIFAN organizers said all people who worked with the official got tested and received negative results.

"Except for the two cases, we have found no further infections," an official from the film festival said. "But we've been asking all visitors to receive virus tests just as a precautionary measure."

BIFAN, South Korea's largest annual genre film festival, has canceled or changed most of its scheduled offline events online since Monday as South Korea's toughest social distancing took effect in the greater Seoul area.

The country has seemingly entered the fourth wave of the pandemic, reporting about 1,600 daily new coronavirus cases for the past few days.

The festival closed later in the day, though its online screening will run through July 18 via local online streamer Wavve.

This year's event featured 257 titles from 47 countries both digitally and in brick-and-mortar theaters, and drew around 23,000 attendees, the organizer said.

"The Medium," a Korean-Thai horror movie directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, grabbed the award for best picture, and Lee Haven Jones of "The Feast" won the award for best direction, according to the organizer.

A person buys a ticket at a booth of the 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in Bucheon, west of Seoul, on July 14, 2021. (Yonhap)


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