Seoul mayor: Over 24,000 linked to Itaewon cluster tested

SEOUL (May 14): More than 24,000 people connected with the recent new coronavirus outbreak in Seoul's popular multicultural neighbourhood of Itaewon have been tested for Covid-19, thanks to the adoption of free and anonymous tests, the city mayor said Thursday.

"The number of accumulated tests related to the Itaewon outbreak has reached 24,082 so far," Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul, said in an interview with TBS radio, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Cases linked to bars and nightclubs in Itaewon hit 120 on Wednesday as secondary infections surfaced across the country. Infections in Seoul accounted for more than half of the cases at 70.

In light of growing concerns, Seoul has adopted free tests for those related to the club. Visitors who are concerned about reporting their personal details can receive anonymous tests.

"The anonymous tests are taking effect. Since the introduction, the number of tests has jumped eightfold from average," Park added.

Without specifying details, the mayor said the anonymous tests have confirmed new infections. Park, however, said the city does not plan to release infection figures tied to the anonymous tests.

The mayor also stressed that his goal is to conduct tests on everyone who visited the night spots in question and warned that those who do not comply with the city's testing order could face a fine of up to 2 million won (US$1,629).

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