Another cluster infection of the novel coronavirus has been reported at a church in South Korea. A total of 46 members of a protestant church in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province, including the pastor have been tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday. It is the second largest cluster of COVID-19 infections in the Seoul metropolitan area followed by a call center in Guro District, Seoul, where 129 people have been infected with the virus. About 100 people would attend worship services in the 99-square meter Seongnam church. The church reportedly held services on March 1 and March 9 despite the government’s repeated calls to suspend worship services.
The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea is on the decline, with 74 cases reported on Monday. But the possibility of small-scale mass infections still exists in churches, bars, and clubs. Most of the churches in the country hold online services to practice “social distancing” but some churches still insist on holding offline services. Fifteen people have been infected with COVID-19 at a church in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province after a call center agent from the Guro call center attended a worship service there.
Other places that have a high chance of cluster infections include PC cafes and karaoke rooms, frequently visited by teenagers, and clubs, where a lot of people dance together in a closed space. Young people, who flock to these places, do not seem to worry about being infected with coronavirus but, once infected, they have a high chance of spreading the virus to each household and the local community. The reason why the government is delaying the spring semester in elementary, middle, and high schools, despite much difficulty, is because schools could easily become a hotbed of cluster infections.
How to deal with the visitors entering the country has become an urgent issue as the situation with regard to coronavirus outbreak has become serious outside the country. The South Korean government Tuesday started applying special entry procedures for travelers entering from European countries. Given the effectiveness of the measure, taking even tougher measures would not be considered excessive. The Europe and the U.S., which are hit by the coronavirus outbreak later than South Korea, are struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new guidance recommending that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks. It is a warning, telling people to halt their daily lives for two months. The South Korean government’s guidance to its people should be more decisive and firm, when it comes to its guidance on who needs to in self-quarantine and for how long.
Many people are putting up with inconveniences in order not to cause harm to families, neighbors, and the community. People have started having a hard time practicing “social distancing” after three weeks, but experts say they should tighten the reins until the end of the month to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the Seoul metropolitan area. The citizens of Daegu successfully stopped the further spread of COVID-19 in a relatively short period of time by voluntarily staying home in a self-quarantine. Now is the time for all Koreans to practice restraint like the people in Daegu to rise to the occasion.