Reopenings Bring New Cases in South Korea, Virus Fears in Italy -BYLN- by NICOLE WINFIELD, VANESSA GERA and JOE McDONALD Associated Press

By Winfield, Nicole; Gera, Vanessa et al. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 10, 2020 | Go to article overview

Reopenings Bring New Cases in South Korea, Virus Fears in Italy -BYLN- by NICOLE WINFIELD, VANESSA GERA and JOE McDONALD Associated Press


Winfield, Nicole, Gera, Vanessa, Associated, Joe Mcdonald, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: NICOLE WINFIELD, VANESSA GERA and JOE McDONALD Associated

ROME South Korea's capital closed down more than 2,100 bars and other nightspots Saturday because of a new cluster of coronavirus infections, Germany scrambled to contain fresh outbreaks at slaughterhouses, and Italian authorities worried that people were getting too friendly at cocktail hour during the country's first weekend of eased restrictions.

The new flareups and fears of a second wave of contagion underscored the dilemma authorities face as they try to reopen their economies.

Around the world, the U.S. and other hard-hit countries are wrestling with how to ease curbs on business and public activity without causing the virus to come surging back.

Elsewhere, Belarus, which has not locked down despite increasing case numbers, saw tens of thousands of people turn out to mark Victory Day, the anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in 1945. That was in contrast to Russia, which skipped the usual grand parade in Red Square.

Germany and South Korea have both carried out extensive testing and contact tracing and have been hailed for avoiding the mass deaths that have overwhelmed other countries. But even there, authorities have struggled with finding the balance between saving lives and saving jobs.

In South Korea, where a decline in new cases had prompted the government to loosen up, Seoul shut down thousands of nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after dozens of infections were linked to clubgoers who went out last weekend as the country relaxed its social-distancing guidelines.

Many of the infections were linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three nightclubs before testing positive. Mayor Park Won-soon said health workers were trying to contact some 1,940 people who had been at the three clubs and other places nearby.

The mayor said gains made against the virus are now threatened "because of a few careless people."

Health officials in Germany faced outbreaks at three slaughterhouses in what was seen as a test of the government's strategy for dealing with any resurgence of the virus as the restrictions are eased. At one slaughterhouse, in Coesfeld, 180 workers tested positive.

Germany's NGG union, which represents food industry workers, said the outbreaks were the result of "a sick system." Freddy Adjan, a senior union official, said the meat industry has for years been relying on "dubious subcontractors" that exploit workers.

U.S. authorities are likewise watching for a second wave, more than two weeks after states began gradually reopening, with Georgia largely leading the way.

Meanwhile, governments came under fresh scrutiny over their handling of the crisis.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Europe must acknowledge that it "wasn't well-prepared" for the outbreak. In the U.S., internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press show that a decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation's top disease control experts for reopening communities during the epidemic came from the highest levels of the White House.

Worldwide, the virus is confirmed to have infected over 3.9 million people and killed more than 275,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University based on data reported by governments.

Hard-hit Italy saw people return to the streets for their traditional aperitivos and revel in fine weather as restrictions there eased. …

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