All for a new, dramatic as well as unexpected peak in the infections. Yesterday 79 cases were recorded, for a national total of 11,344 with 269 deaths, against 81 on 5 April. Always very low numbers. But it is necessary to consider the collective commitment of the South Koreans who in recent months have acted with great effectiveness, respecting (almost) the rules on social distancing to the letter. The first reopening had been “stained” by an outbreak that left the clubs of Itaewon’s nightlife in Seoul: all resolved – despite the embarrassment – in a dozen days with 261 total infections.
Yesterday was instead discovered a new viral source not in a disco but in a warehouse for the storage of goods of the ecommerce company Coupang in Bucheon, in the west of the endless suburbs of Seoul. Over 4,000 workers and visitors immediately ended up in self-isolation, while according to the deputy minister of health, Kim Gang-lip, 80 percent of the possible infected have already been subjected to the test for positivity to the virus.
“The next two weeks will be crucial for the containment of the epidemic,” added Health Minister Park Neung-hoo without hiding the strong concern about the sudden peak, the most serious in 50 days.: According to South Korean experts, the disease is increasingly difficult to detect.
The fact remains that South Korea has been internationally considered a model in the fight against Covid-19 and, at least until yesterday, everything seemed to give her reason: no new cases and steep turns. But as soon as the restrictions have lifted, there is a new problem. Nor was it due to the “imprudence” of early May, when crowds of young people poured into the streets of fun in Seoul, evidently driven, like their western peers, by the need to “socialize” after weeks of forced isolation. Considering that 500 new cases were reported at the beginning of March, the work done with digital tools of a hyper-connected country and the traditional ability to follow the rules of South Koreans appeared effective to all. So much so that the industrial machine had only slowed down its run (this year against a GDP that should have increased by 2.1%, forecasts indicate a contraction of 0.2). The students had already returned to school last week. While churches and temples had reopened their doors to the faithful, the football and baseball championships had returned to entertaining, albeit behind closed doors. Now the government will have to decide what to do: the Korea model has caught on.
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