S. Korea reports five domestic virus cases

South Korea has closed Seoul nightspots and disinfected the area over a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
South Korea has closed Seoul nightspots and disinfected the area over a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

South Korea has reported five new domestic cases of coronavirus, all linked to a cluster of cases centred around bars and nightclubs in the capital, raising fears in the country of a fresh wave of contagion.

After weeks of nearly no new domestic coronavirus cases, South Korea relaxed its lockdown on May 6, but a subsequent spike in infections linked to Seoul's Itaewon nightlife neighbourhood has forced a rapid rethink.

The government has stood by its decision to ease broader restrictions by reopening offices, public facilities and sports centres, but some nightclubs and bars in the capital were ordered to close again, and authorities have also delayed the planned reopening of schools by a week.

South Korea reported 13 new cases as of midnight on Saturday, bringing the country's total to 11,050 with 262 deaths.

Of those new cases, five were linked to the outbreak from the night spots in Seoul, and seven were people with the infection entering South Korea from abroad.

It was the second consecutive day in single figures for new domestic cases since the latest scare erupted, but so far there have been 168 cases linked to the Itaewon cluster, including clubgoers as well as secondary infections in family members, coworkers, and students.

Director Jeong Eun-kyeong of Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warned the clubgoers to stay in isolation as their incubation period hasn't passed yet.

"Even if you have been tested negative, there still is a risk of infection during the incubation period. Please do get tested again if you have any symptoms," said Jeong.

Australian Associated Press