Seoul suspends ‘coin noraebang’ to contain virus


SEOUL city government on Friday ordered all coin-operated karaoke rooms in the city to suspend business ahead of the weekend, in its latest effort to contain the new coronavirus.

Under the administrative order which has taken effect, 569 “coin noraebang” will be banned from hosting guests until further notice.

The city government, however, said it planned to file compensation suits against businesses where infections occur.

According to the city government, those who visit such facilities and later test positive will also have to pay for medical treatment.

In a press release, it noted it has issued the administrative order ahead of the weekend “given that coin noraebang is frequently visited by students and that infections have occurred at such facilities.”

A number of infections have been reported at coin-operated karaoke facilities in Seoul and surrounding areas.

The infection has however put health authorities on alert over additional infections in closed venues, such as bars and internet cafes that are popular among the younger generation.

On Thursday, the city government of Incheon, west of Seoul, also ordered a two-week closure of such facilities after infections were reported.

The city government said businesses and visitors that breach the order may face fines of up to 3 million won (2,420 dollars).

“City authorities and police are scheduled to conduct on-site inspections of the karaoke facilities between May 25 and 31.

“The city issues the no-assembly administrative order since it is difficult to manage these facilities under quarantine guidelines,” it added.

According to Mayor Park Won-soon, there are many cases in which coin noraebang are operated unmanned and are hard to ventilate.

Park also urged other karaoke facilities to strictly follow quarantine guidelines even though they were excluded from Friday’s measure.

Of the country’s 11,142 cases of COVID-19 infections, 27.9 per cent involve patients in their twenties.

A coin noraebang is a type of karaoke room where people pay per song using coins. (Yonhap/NAN)

– May 22, 2020 @ 14:35 GMT |

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