New clusters of Covid-19 have been reported in the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global outbreak originated, sparking fears of a second wave of infections in two countries thought to have tamed the virus.
The two countries had recently eased restrictions and reopened their economies. While the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province reported five new cases on Monday, a day after it confirmed the first Covid-19 case since early April in the Sanmin neighbourhood.
In South Korea, health officials reported 34 new cases on Sunday, the first time the country’s daily tally rose above 30 in a month, after an outbreak emerged in connection with one of Seoul’s popular nightlife districts.
Held up as a global model on how to manage the coronavirus, South Korea had been on track to loosen restrictions following weeks of surveillance and social distancing measures. The nightlife cluster has not just prompted the capital to close down more than 2,100 bars and other night spots but also delay the reopening of South Korean schools.
Meanwhile China is also introducing renewed restrictions after five new cases were reported in the central city of Wuhan, and another 12 in the north-eastern city of Shulan. Having slowly reopened schools, public transport and certain businesses in recent weeks, Wuhan’s new outbreak could delay any further easing in restrictions.
Northeastern Jilin province, which on Saturday reported a cluster of infections in one of its cities, Shulan, reported three additional local cases. Shulan has been marked a high-risk area, the only place in China currently with that designation. An increase in infections has led to a lockdown being imposed on the city of Shulan, in the province of Jilin, which borders both Russia and North Korea.
The city is in a 'wartime' battle against the virus, and the local government will take the strictest measures to control the spread," Mayor Jin Hua was quoted as saying which until the weekend had reported no local cases for more than 70 days.
The city has imposed a lockdown on its 600,000 residents since the weekend, with just one member of a household being allowed out each day to buy necessities. Nearby Liaoning and Heilongjiang provinces each reported one case, adding to worries about a resurgence of the outbreak in the region.