14 new coronavirus cases confirmed at Suncheon fitness center, stirring concerns about cluster infection
SUNCHEON, South Korea, Fourteen new coronavirus cases linked to a fitness center in the southwestern city of Suncheon were confirmed Tuesday, three days after a member was found to have contracted the disease, health officials said.
The outbreak at Cheongam Fitness and Spa, with more than 340 members, sparked concerns about a possible cluster infection, as South Korea is struggling with new spikes in COVID-19 cases. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the day reported 280 new cases across the country, raising the total caseload to 17,945.
A woman in her 40s who uses the health club in Suncheon, some 415 kilometers south of Seoul, nearly every day was diagnosed with the new coronavirus late Saturday. She is a friend of a door-to-door saleswoman in her 70s who was confirmed to be infected last Thursday.
An additional 14 people who used the fitness center tested positive Tuesday, the city government said.
All of them were sent to Suncheon Medical Center, while the facility has been closed and disinfected.
The authorities found the woman did not wear a mask while using the gym and sauna in the building and visited restaurants, cafes and retail outlets in the city.
The number of her contacts is estimated to be more than 400, including 30 people classified as close contacts. Her husband and two children tested negative and went into self-quarantine at home.
The health authorities ordered all users of the center to take coronavirus tests and self-quarantine.
A total of 30 cases have been confirmed so far in Suncheon, with a population of 280,000, according to the city government.
“Epidemiological surveys have found an infection link around the fitness center,” said an official of South Jeolla Province, to which the city belongs.
“We are carrying out enhanced surveys and disease control measures in Suncheon as infections occurred at a fitness center and a large market, and could spread further,” the official added.
Source: Yonhap News Agency