Europe

South Korea closes down as authorities scramble to contain new coronavirus clusters

Authorities around the world have urged vigilence amid new COVID-19 outbreaks as restrictions ease. (AAP)

Coronavirus outbreaks in South Korea and Germany have raised concerns about the potential for a second wave of contagion as restrictions ease around the world.

South Korea's capital has closed down more than 2100 bars and other nightspots because of a new cluster of coronavirus infections as German authorities scramble to contain fresh outbreaks at slaughterhouses.

The new outbreaks - and the fears of a second wave of contagion - underscored the dangers authorities face as they try to reopen their economies.

Around the world, the US and other hard-hit countries are wrestling with how to ease curbs on business and public activity without causing the virus to come surging back.

South Korea is locking-down again after easing restrictions in recent days.
South Korea is locking-down again after easing restrictions in recent days.
AP

In Belarus, which has not locked down despite increasing case numbers, tens of thousands of people turned out to mark Victory Day, the anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in 1945. That was in contrast to Russia, which skipped the usual grand parade in Red Square.

Germany and South Korea have both carried out extensive testing and contact tracing and have been hailed for avoiding the mass deaths that have overwhelmed other countries. But even there, authorities have struggled with finding the balance between saving lives and saving jobs.

In South Korea, where a decline in new cases had prompted the government to loosen up, Seoul shut down thousands of nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after dozens of infections were linked to club-goers who went out last weekend as the country relaxed its social-distancing guidelines.

Many of the infections were linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three nightclubs before testing positive. Mayor Park Won-soon said health workers were trying to contact 1940 people who had been at the three clubs and other places nearby.

The mayor said gains made against the virus are now threatened "because of a few careless people".

Authorities are combatting new outbreaks in Germany as thousands protest against restrictions.
Authorities are combatting new outbreaks in Germany as thousands protest against restrictions.
EPA

Health officials in Germany faced outbreaks at three slaughterhouses in what was seen as a test of the government's strategy for dealing with any resurgence of the virus as the restrictions are eased.

At one slaughterhouse, in Coesfeld, 180 workers tested positive for the virus.

US authorities are likewise watching for a second wave, more than two weeks after states began gradually reopening, with Georgia largely leading the way.

In hard-hit Italy, people returned to the streets for their traditional aperitivos and to revel in fine weather as restrictions eased. In some cases, people went too far for the authorities.

Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala warned that "a handful of crazy people" were putting the city's economic recovery at risk, and threatened to shut down the city's trendy Navigli district after crowds of young Milanese were seen out at aperitivo hour ignoring social-distancing rules.

Elsewhere, Pakistan allowed shops, factories, construction sites and some other businesses to reopen on Saturday while more than 1600 new cases and 24 deaths were reported.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government is rolling back curbs because it can't support millions of families that depend on daily wages.

The government warned that controls will be reimposed if the public fails to follow social-distancing guidelines.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.

Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store. SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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