Updated May 10, 2020 - World

South Korea fears "second wave" of coronavirus as cases jump

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said the country should "brace for the pandemic's second wave," the BBC reports, as officials confirmed 34 new novel coronavirus cases on Sunday — the highest daily number in a month.

Why it matters: South Korea had the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases after China in early March. But diligent tracing, testing and strict lockdowns allowed the country to control the outbreak. The new cases could serve as a warning to nations grappling with how to reopen their own communities.

Driving the news: South Korea has begun relaxing social-distancing requirements. But a new cluster of coronavirus cases has emerged, stemming from a 29-year-old who visited three nightclubs in Seoul last Saturday before testing positive for the virus on Wednesday, Bloomberg notes.

  • The number of cases tied to the patient jumped to 40 as of Saturday afternoon, per Bloomberg. South Korean epidemiologists began tracing roughly 1,500 people believed to have been in those clubs around the same time, per the New York Times.
  • Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Saturday ordered all nightclubs, discos, hostess bars and other nightlife establishments to close as a result.

By the numbers: There are 10,844 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea, and 256 recorded deaths.

  • South Korea's Ministry of Health reports the number of cases increased from 10,793 on May 3 to 10,840 on May 9. For weeks, the country reported about 10 new infections per day, the Times notes.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with Moon's comments and the latest case numbers.

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