The authorities announced Saturday that a chain of COVID-19 transmissions originating from a healthcare product business forum has infected 54 people in Daejeon, a city about 150 kilometers south of Seoul.
This latest cluster infection in the city began Aug. 25, when a Seoul resident infected with COVID-19 hosted the forum at a building in the In-dong in the city’s Dong District.
A woman in her 50s, codenamed Daejeon Patient 293, contracted the coronavirus from the Seoul resident and has since spread infected 28 other people, including family members and acquaintances, according to the municipal health authorities. Soon after the forum, the woman, a resident of Gayang-dong, also in the Dong District, met with a number of family members and acquaintances, infecting six of them.
One of the infected acquaintances, identified only as a man in his 60s, visited a restaurant in Gayang-dong later, triggering a local community chain transmission, the authorities explained.
They noted it was regrettable that the man codenamed Daejeon Patient 311 visited the restaurant twice, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, for 20 minutes each time despite showing symptoms, such as excessive phlegm production and a loss of taste. He infected as many as 19 people, including the restaurant owner and a middle school student.
“Quarantine officials are trying to administer coronavirus tests for anybody who might have come into contact with the confirmed patients as swiftly as possible,” a municipal official said. “But it’s frustrating that the speed the coronavirus is spreading at is faster than the speed of the tests.”
Meanwhile, Daejeon Municipal Government announced it would slightly ease restrictions on business and religious facilities beginning next week.
Under the eased guidelines, nine types of businesses, including karaoke establishments, bars and indoor sports facilities, will be allowed to remain open until 1 a.m., beginning Monday, on condition that quarantine rules, such as wearing masks and electronic entry registration, are strictly observed. The facilities will still be banned from operating from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Starting Sunday, religious facilities in Daejeon will be allowed to resume in-person worship services, but only attended by fewer than 50 people. Other religious gatherings and events, such as retreats and group meals, remain prohibited. (Yonhap)