Three union members who participated in a large-scale illegal rally held by the National Federation of Trade Unions (KCTU) in Jongno-gu, Seoul on the 3rd were confirmed with the novel coronavirus infection (Corona 19). The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) was concerned that “the possibility of COVID-19 infection through gatherings cannot be ruled out as a confirmed case appears within two weeks, which is the longest incubation period.” In a statement, Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom said, “I am deeply sorry that a confirmed case emerged among the participants of the ‘July 3 KCTU Workers’ Convention,’ which requested restraint several times.” The Seoul Metropolitan Government preemptively notified the ban on the 8/15 Liberation Day rally for fear of further spread.
○ After securing a copy of the room and a list of meeting participants
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced on the 17th that “three confirmed cases of COVID-19 were found among those attending the rally on the 3rd.” A woman in her 50s who participated in the rally was confirmed for the first time on the 16th, and two more were confirmed on the 17th.
The Central Quarantine Countermeasures Headquarters (Bangdaebon) immediately issued an administrative order to all participants attending the rally to undergo a diagnostic test for COVID-19. The Confederation of Trade Unions estimated the number of people attending the rally at that time was around 8,000. Prime Minister Kim also said on the same day, “I strongly request that all participants in the rally go to a nearby screening clinic and receive an immediate diagnostic test regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. I hope you will recognize it.”
Bang Dae-bon started to secure a list of participants in the assembly to check whether there were additional infections due to the KCTU rally. However, unlike last year’s ‘August 15 Liberation Day Conservative Group Rally’, the mobile phone location information was not requested from the telecommunication company. An official from Bangdaebon explained, “(Request for data from the news agency) is a method used in an unavoidable situation where it is difficult to identify attendees.” “Currently, we have requested a list of attendees from the Federation of Trade Unions.”
○ “Distortion of facts” vs “Possibility of infection through assembly”
The Federation of Trade Unions and Trade Unions said, “We apologize for causing concern and concern to those who are working hard and dedicated to ending Corona 19 and to many people who are watching with interest.” However, regarding the route of infection, he objected, saying it was “distorting facts.
In a statement on the 18th, a public transport union affiliated with the KCTU claimed that “the quarantine authorities are distorting the facts and unfairly slandering the public transport union by announcing that the three members were confirmed to be related to the attendance of the assembly. “The three confirmed patients had lunch together as colleagues working in the same department. Eating together is the only confirmed route of infection.” Two weeks have passed since the rally, but the only confirmed case is three, the KCTU explained.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “The route of infection is currently under investigation, so the source of the infection has not yet been confirmed.” “Three confirmed patients attended the rally on the 3rd, and symptoms occurred on the 14th and 16th. It is within the range of two weeks, the longest incubation period, so the possibility of infection through gatherings cannot be ruled out.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government preemptively notified the ban of the assembly for the ‘August 15 Liberation Day Rally’, which is about a month away. In the case of Seoul, gatherings are prohibited except for one-person protests in accordance with the ‘4th step of distancing’ measures. Even if it is downgraded to level 3, gatherings of more than 50 people cannot be held. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, since last week, progressive and conservative groups reported that they would hold a rally of up to hundreds of people during the Liberation Day holiday (14th to 16th). The Seoul Metropolitan Government sent an official letter to progressive conservative groups such as the Korea Progressive Solidarity and the Headquarters for the Liberation of Ten Million People, announcing the ban on gatherings.
An official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government explained, “Considering the current spread of the virus, it was decided that a rally held around Liberation Day could pose a threat to quarantine, so it was preemptively banned.” The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to impose a fine in accordance with the Infectious Disease Prevention Act and claim compensation for damages in case of a confirmed case if the assembly is held against the notice of ban.
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