Countries Hailed For Limiting COVID-19 Spread Now Faced With New Cluster Outbreaks
Germany and South Korea are fighting new clusters of the coronavirus, after being lauded for containing infections and hoping to relax self-isolation restrictions.
While much has been made regarding Germany's successful efforts to control COVID-19, the country must now quell a fresh outbreak at a number of its slaughterhouses.
Meanwhile in South Korea, there were a reported 34 new cases on Sunday -- the highest daily number in a month. The new coronavirus cluster formed after a confirmed patient reportedly visited a handful of Seoul nightclubs.
These new outbreaks cast doubt upon easing social distancing rules in two countries viewed as shining examples of how to deal with a global pandemic.
At an abattoir in the German city of Coesfeld, 180 workers recently tested positive. Two more butcheries have also reported coronavirus outbreaks.
In Seoul on Saturday, over 2000 nightspots were shut down after a man in his late 20s tested positive after attending a number of clubs.
At least 15 of South Korea's 34 new cases have been traced to that man as of Friday.
This fresh wave of coronavirus cases occurred as both countries began relaxing their social-distancing rules.
In Germany, stores have been given the green light to re-open with additional hygiene measures while social distancing measures will be eased from June 5.
In South Korea, children will start returning to school from May 13 and events and gatherings are allowed as long as they abide by disinfection guidelines.
During a speech marking the third anniversary of his inauguration, President Moon Jae-in warned COVID-19 would spike in South Korea again later this year.
He used the recent cluster as an example of how easily this might occur.
“It’s not over until it’s over. While keeping enhanced alertness till the end, we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention,” he said.
In a news conference on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germans they could "afford a bit of courage," but warned "we have to watch that this thing does not slip out of our hands."
"The first phase of the pandemic is behind us but we are still at the beginning and it will be with us for a long time," Merkel said.
Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and digital technology assisted countries like Germany and South Korea to contain the spread of COVID-19.