Our COVID-19 numbers have escalated in recent days, largely due to nightlife activities at KTVs and nightclubs.
After all, nothing screams panic at the disco more than a highly infectious virus outbreak at your local nightclub.
While this may be the first time our country’s nightlife has contributed significantly to the rise in COVID-19 cases, this isn’t anything new at all—a number of other places have also had to contend with large-scale outbreaks stemming from nightlife activities.
Here are a couple of examples of the outbreaks in other areas around the world caused by the nightlife.
In mid-July 2020, The Hacienda bar in a French seaside resort became the epicenter of a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to health officials, the dancing that took place in the bar breached regulations, and one individual described the bar as “too full”.
One of the people present was a 19-year-old student who left the bar early due to a headache and was diagnosed with COVID-19 three days later.
Many of his friends who were regulars at the bar later tested positive as well, with 72 positive cases being traced back to the student and his friends.
The bar was soon closed by public health authorities, and mass testing was carried out.
A Sardinian nightclub in Italy saw the sprouting of a COVID-19 cluster last year when more than 60 confirmed cases were linked to the venue.
The nightclub Billionaire, which is located on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, is owned by the former Formula One team boss Flavio Briatore.
Briatore was found to have tested positive for COVID-19. The nightclub had seen thousands of guests, among them hundreds of Italian and international VIPs.
Officials then scrambled to contact all individuals who had visited the club in recent times. Italian media reported that Billionaire had hosted between 8,000 and 11,000 guests in the first weeks of August 2020, and there had been concerns about many people registering with fake identities and contact numbers.
Briatore had earlier lambasted the Italian government in mid-August when it ordered the shutting down of all nightclubs.
A 29-year-old resident of Yongin city had tested positive for the virus after visiting five gay clubs in Itaewon in May 2020.
Authorities had a hard time tracking down and contacting some of the people who had been to the same clubs, and officials resorted to obtaining data from mobile phone operators. Police were also sent to physically track down visitors in the vicinity.
During this period, several K-Pop idols had faced backlash after they were found to have visited Itaewon.
BTS’ Jungkook, NCT’s Jaehyun, Seventeen’s Mingyu, and Astro’s Cha Eun-woo had gone to a restaurant and two different bars in Itaewon on 25 April 2020.
All of them had tested negative for the virus, and their agencies issued apologies for their failure to adhere to social distancing regulations. However, it was also pointed out that the celebrities had not visited particular bars and clubs which were involved in the COVID-19 cluster.
In 2020, Tokyo had to contend with two consecutive days of over 100 new infections, mostly stemming from nightlife establishments.
Hostess bars and host clubs were indicated as coronavirus hotspots. According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, many of the infections were traced back to places where “food and drinks [were] provided along with company”.
In April 2021, Thailand’s transport minister was diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the Thai government, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob had caught the virus from an aide who had visited some nightlife hotspots.
One of these included a club that was described by Thai media as a strip joint that harbored an outright disregard for social distancing regulations.
The outbreak at nightlife hotspots in Bangkok led to a surge in new infections, afflicting mostly young and wealthy Thais.
In November 2020, more than 20 dance clubs in Hong Kong found themselves responsible for a number of COVID-19 infections.
The cluster was brought to light after a 75-year-old businesswoman visited the Starlight Dance Club in Wan Chai.
She was confirmed to test positive for the virus on 19 November.
Hong Kong’s dance studios were subsequently blamed for causing the fourth wave of infections, and a couple of well-known personalities were found to be linked to the cluster, such as former actress Tse Ling Ling and billionaire Rossana Wang Gaw.
In May 2021, a sharp increase in cases was found to be linked to teahouses in Taipei’s red-light district.
Following the news of the outbreak, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je called for bars, dance clubs, nightclubs, karaoke lounges, hostess clubs, and teahouses to shut down.
The situation worsened in severity, prompting authorities to impose a Level 3 alert for the first time in New Taipei City, which is the second-highest alert level.
Featured Image: David Bokuchava/ shutterstock.com
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