In response, authorities are adjusting their tracing methods. They are now offering free and anonymous testing for anybody who went near the affected areas in late April and early May. In a break with previous practice, they are seeking to reassure people that they will publish minimal information about their identity and routes. But delays associated with worries about privacy have probably already pushed up the number of infections associated with the incident.
The new outbreak has slowed the resumption of normal life. Clubs have been ordered to shut again until June 7th. The reopening of schools, originally planned for this week, has been pushed back by a week. Thousands of cram schools have also been told to close after a teacher and several students tested positive.
The outbreak has probably spread more widely than it might have given the recent uptick in domestic travel, with cases related to the Itaewon clubs being discovered as far afield as Busan and Jeju. The bounceback in domestic tourism has been swift, as people have grown keener to get away from it all but have little scope to travel abroad. Flight capacity from Seoul to Jeju, the world's busiest air route, is back to 95% of its usual average after dropping by half in March, when social-distancing recommendations were at their most stringent.
During the May holiday weekend, Jeju felt little changed from before the pandemic, bar a dearth of Chinese tour groups. Beaches, coffee shops and bike lanes were packed with visitors, many of whom appeared to have left their face masks at the airport. A guesthouse-owner on the island, who caters mainly to tourists in their 20s, says that occupancy has reached around 80% of the typical level: "Everything is starting to get back to normal." Unfortunately, periodic surges in infections and consequent adjustments to the rules are also likely to become normal.