Don’t lower your guardCoronavirus has resurged following the holiday week in early May. The infection from clubbers after a night out in Itaewon, a multicultural neighborhood in central Seoul, has been sprawling across the nation to splash cold waters at President Moon Jae-in’s third anniversary speech that vowed a safer and healthier society after combating Covid-19.
Clubs and other places young people go to hang out have been repeatedly identified as potential hotbeds for infection. After seeing local infections at zero, the cases spiked as a result of eased restrictions on entertainment facilities during the holiday week. The months-long endeavors and sacrifice by medical workers could go to waste.
After social distancing was eased on May 6, new cases jumped due to a rash return to normalcy.
In Korea, the infection rate of people in their 20s is as high as 27.6 percent. The mortality rate from Covid-19 for those in their 70s or older is at 77.8 percent, but there have been no deaths of people under 30. Just because the death risk is lower for the young, they must not let down their guard against Covid-19 because they can easily spread the virus to elders in their family or others. Authorities must not rush to lower the alert level. Some of the ambiguity in the everyday guidelines should be addressed. The 31-point guideline for everyday practice under virus risk is overly figurative.
The Seoul city government has imposed business suspensions on entertainment locations for an unlimited period. But that is not enough. Authorities have not been able to track the hundreds of clubgoers from the night in Itaewon. Locations entertaining young people and crowds should make it a practice to take down their contact numbers. The arrivals from overseas were effectively controlled after Incheon International Airport kept records of all entrants from outside.
School would be reopening starting with high school seniors on Wednesday. Schools should be thoroughly safe so as not to cause any outbreaks. The Ministry of Education must listen to deepening concerns from parents.
The military has re-allowed holidays for soldiers. They must be supervised so that they refrain from visiting clubs and locations at the risk of infections. President Moon Jae-in vowed that he will make Korea a global leader in quarantine. To achieve that goal, our society must maintain vigilance and address any potential loopholes in quarantine.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 11, Page 30