A single man triggered a massive contact tracing exercise in Seoul, South Korea, after visiting 5 nightclubs in a Seoul neighbourhood on a weekend and later tested positive for COVID-19.
Not only does this case highlight the scope of the response which can be triggered by one infected individual but the willingness of Korean authorities to use mobile phone data, credit card data and CCTV footage to track down individuals who could have come into contact with the virus.
I wonder how citizens of other countries would feel about this? This is real big brother stuff.
Do you think the UK Government is up to the task of whack-a-mole to this degree?
The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of 13th May, 119 new infections have been traced back to the 29-year-old and that 5,517 fellow clubgoers have been contacted in the process. This has led to 7,272 additional tests being administered on Tuesday (on top of the baseline of 4,000 to 5,000 tests carried out daily in the country) to patrons and their families/immediate contacts. Authorities said they had identified a total of more than 11,000 people who had been in the general area on the night in question.
Out of the 5,517 people who authorities are seeking contact with, 1,982 have so far not replied, showing that even a sophisticated method is not perfect. Since the bars and clubs in question catered to gay audiences, Korea’s traditional stance on sexual identity could be hampering peoples’ will to come forward.
This case also redefines how infectious a superspreader can be. May be he should referred to as a super-superspreader?