Public concern was raised about reopening of schools after a cluster infection was reported at nightclubs in Itaewon in the capital Seoul. As of Sunday, a total of 168 people have tested positive for the virus linked to the Itaewon cluster.
The minister, Park Baeg-beom, pointed out that many students are at a critical junction of their education, particularly those taking exams for job placement opportunities and students applying for arts and sports majors.
All 51 teachers and students who had been to clubs in the Itaewon area have tested negative and several hundred people who visited the area have been tested,” he said. "There are 10 confirmed students with the virus who had not visited the Itaewon area but contracted the virus from an instructor at a private academy in Incheon."
All students and faculty members with temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher will not be allowed to go to school, the minister added. Temperature checks will happen twice a day and anyone with symptoms will be transported to centers.
Why is this happening now: South Korea was among the first places to deal with a major coronavirus epidemic, and seemed to be on track to loosen restrictions, after weeks of social distancing measures and careful surveillance. But the new cluster raised questions as to whether restrictions should be eased.
Before the latest cases, the number of new infections in South Korea had slowed to a trickle, with local transmission appearing to be halted. South Korea's response has been hailed as one of the best globally, aided in part by the country's relative small size, easily-controlled borders and aggressive testing regime.
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