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Infections rebound in South Korea as president warns of second wave

Infections rebound in South Korea as president warns of second wave
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Coronavirus infection have returned to a one-month high in South Korea in the wake of some restrictions being eased, prompting officials to warn of a potential second wave in the coming months.

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday warned the pandemic is “not over until it’s over,” as the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 34 new cases, the greatest number since April 9, in a nightlife district. Officials responded to the outbreaks by temporarily closing all nightclubs in the Seoul area, Reuters reported.

A man in his late 20s visited a handful of clubs before testing positive last week, according to the KCDC, which said at least 24 of the 26 new domestic infections traced back to him.

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“We must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention,” Moon said in the televised address, which commemorated the third anniversary of his inauguration. “We are in a prolonged war. I ask everyone to comply with safety precautions and rules until the situation is over even after resuming daily lives.”

South Korea’s overall death toll remains at 256, according to Reuters.

The government had planned to begin reopening schools May 13. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said officials will analyze the impact of the nightclub outbreaks over the next two or three days before deciding whether to continue the plan.

South Korea, the first country outside China to see a major outbreak of the virus, had been hailed as one of the most successful countries in addressing the virus, implementing a regimen of aggressive testing and contact tracing that averted the tighter lockdowns seen in other countries.

Moon said Sunday that the KCDC will be given more power as part of the fight against the pandemic, Reuters reported.