Seoul Closes Bars, Nightclubs After New COVID-19 Cluster Discovered In Ritzy Nightlife District Sparks Fears Of ‘2nd Wave’: Live Updates

Saturday, May 9, 2020
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 05/09/2020


Russia nears 200k cases as country celebrates 75th anniversary of Nazi defeat
Belarus holds parade commemorating victory, with thousands bunched close together
Spain prepares to lift lockdown on Monday for vast majority of country
South Korea moves to contain latest cluster
New study finds combo of 3 powerful antivirals effective at treating COVID-19 patients
Aide to Ivanka Trump tests positive
* * *

After rejecting Madrid’s bid to move into the next phase of the lockdown, Spain’s socialist-led government is preparing to lift the most-stringent restrictions from its 2-month lockdown for most of its citizens starting Monday.

PM Pedro Sánchez pleaded with the Spanish people to take as many precautions as possible when business reopen and people pour out of their homes for the first time in months as one of the most strict lockdowns in Europe is officially wound back. Though suspicions about under-counting of cases and deaths linger, the viral tide as clearly started to wane (most of the outliers depicted in the chart below coincide with revisions).

During a speech, Sanchez said people should “take precautions as if they were infected” and called for “total caution and prudence” from those living in regions where the lockdown will be loosened. More than 50% of Spain’s ~50 million population will transition out of lockdown on Monday, when restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve clients outdoors, shops selling non-essential merchandise iwll be allowed to reopen without appointment and small private gatherings of up to 10 people can be held.

However, as we mentioned above, the country’s worst-hit areas (cities including Madrid and Barcelona) will have to wait at least another wee. Spain hopes to completely lift the lockdown for the whole country in a series of stages by mid-July.

Spain’s ministry of health said 179 people had died in the past 24 hours after contracting coronavirus, in figures released on Saturday, one of the lowest totals since the lockdown was imposed in mid-March. On Saturday, the health ministry reported a jump of just 0.27% to 223,578.

As we reported last night, the global coronavirus case total topped 4 million, while deaths topped 275k…

…Even as the single-day total yesterday came in below 90k (according to data from Johns Hopkins), marking a slowdown from earlier in the week.

Russia cancelled a military parade that had been planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII as its outbreak spirals out of control, with the number of confirmed cases has pushed Russia into No. 5 biggest outbreak worldwide, just behind the UK.

In a subdued celebration, President Vladimir Putin laid roses at the Eternal Flame war memorial as millions of Russians, unable to attend public processions, instead uploaded pictures of war-era family members and shared old war stories online. Moments after Putin’s speech commemorating one of the most important non-religious holidays on the Russian calendar, public health officials confirmed another 10,817 cases, bringing Russia’s total to just below 200k, with nearly 2k deaths reported.

Acting virtually alone among the members of the CIS, Belarus went ahead with a massive military parade, drawing a crowd of thousands of people despite mounting concerns about the spread of the virus in the former Soviet State. Belarus’s longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko is one of a handful of leaders who, like Brazil’s Bolsonaro, have denied the seriousness of the virus.

Putin said Russia will “certainly celebrate this anniversary extensively and solemnly, as usual”, pledging the processions will be held at a later date.

We’ve been following an outbreak in Seoul involving a 29-year-old who partied in one of the city’s most exclusive nightclub districts, eventually infecting 14 others. To try and suppress this latest cluster, the Seoul city government on Saturday ordered clubs and bars to shut after a spate of infections in the city’s popular Itaewon entertainment district, official media reported. New case confirmations in South Korea remain negligible; most of them involve travelers just arriving in the country, who must complete a 14-day quarantine.

Here’s more on the situation as some experts fear the beginning of a ‘second wave’ of the virus, courtesy of LiveMint:

A potential second wave of coronavirus infections could be possible in South Korea after confirmed cases suddenly increased after a lull, with a surge tied to nightclubs in Seoul.

The total number of cases linked to nightclubs in Itaewon in Seoul, visited by a 29-year-old patient earlier this month, increased to 40 as of noon Saturday in Seoul, the city’s Mayor Park Won-soon said in a briefing Saturday. Park ordered the closing of all nightclubs, discos, hostess bars and other similar nightlife establishments in the capital.

The sudden spike in cases has sparked memories of an outbreak at a religious sect in late February, which sent daily infections in the nation to almost 1,000.

South Korea, which in early March had the second highest number of cases globally after China, has been able to control the virus spread without having to take severe measures such as imposing a lockdown or banning overseas travel. Instead authorities have relied instead on a massive testing and tracing regime.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun pledged to mobilize all available resources to contain a further spread of the virus. The country began easing its social distancing campaign and earlier this week announced that schools will start reopening May 13.

Before we go, a small study – the results of which have been published in the Lancet – carried out with just 127 patients in Hong Kong has found that a combination of 3 powerful antivirals showed promising results.

Here are two sections from the paper’s summary:


Between Feb 10 and March 20, 2020, 127 patients were recruited; 86 were randomly assigned to the combination group and 41 were assigned to the control group. The median number of days from symptom onset to start of study treatment was 5 days (IQR 3–7). The combination group had a significantly shorter median time from start of study treatment to negative nasopharyngeal swab (7 days [IQR 5–11]) than the control group (12 days [8–15]; hazard ratio 4·37 [95% CI 1·86–10·24], p=0·0010). Adverse events included self-limited nausea and diarrhoea with no difference between the two groups. One patient in the control group discontinued lopinavir–ritonavir because of biochemical hepatitis. No patients died during the study.


Early triple antiviral therapy was safe and superior to lopinavir–ritonavir alone in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of viral shedding and hospital stay in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Future clinical study of a double antiviral therapy with interferon beta-1b as a backbone is warranted.

Just the latest study finding that “kitchen-sinking” patients with powerful antivirals appears to be one of the most effective strategies at treating patients in serious condition.

Finally, in the US, an aide to Ivanka Trump tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Friday evening announcement. Staffers for President Trump and VP Pence have also tested positive.

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