Netizens question necessity of in-person events after K-pop idol tests positive for COVID-19
Published: Jun 24, 2021 07:07 PM

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A member of K-pop girl band LovelyZ has tested positive for COVID-19, sparking Chinese netizens' concern for the safety of their idols. Many netizens noted that they feel now is not the time for these stars to resume in-person activities as the pandemic in South Korea is not completely under control.

Woollim Entertainment, the agency for LovelyZ, announced on Tuesday that the group's vocalist Seo Ji-soo had tested positive for COVID-19. Seo voluntarily took the test after she was informed that she had come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient before, according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.

The other seven members took the tests as well, but all tested negative, according to South Korean media reports.

The Yonhap report said that Seo has "put her schedule on hold" and has taken appropriate isolation measures in accordance with the country's infection control guidelines. Meanwhile, the seven other members are also self-quarantining at home since they were in contact with Seo. 

Seo fans from both South Korea and other parts of the world expressed their concerns on social media. Many netizens on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo have left numerous messages in the comment section of the posts, wish Seo a quick recovery. 

Fans on Twitter expressed similar feelings toward Seo, with tweets of "Get well soon, jisoo!" among the most common.

However, some voices questioned Woollim's move to hasten its artists back onstage, which they feel risks these stars' health as South Korea is still seeing hundreds of COVID-19 cases every day.

"I really think the company should take this incident seriously as the pandemic in South Korea is not under control," said one netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"There should definitely be no more offline activities, especially concerts!"

"You cannot just ignore the scary number COVID-19 cases in the country. Artists should have gotten COVID-19 vaccination shots before resuming work," another netizen on Sina Weibo posted. "And offline concerts need to be canceled if a great number of people may gather together."

Saturday's 2021 Dream Concert, a huge annual concert in South Korea, will be an in-person event, according to South Korean media reports. The 2020 edition of the event was streamed through YouTube due to the pandemic.

According to a Sunday report from the International Business Times, LovelyZ was scheduled to perform at the concert. However, with the group in quarantine it is unlikely they will appear in person. 

In December 2020, two members, Yiren and Sihyeon, of K-pop girl group EVERGLOW also tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to those in the music industry, several cases have cropped up among South Korean actors, leading to the shutdown of some TV productions.

The daily number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea has dropped to around 500 after peaking in December 2020, statistics show as of Wednesday. 

Yet "the decrease doesn't mean that the country is ready for a complete recovery of offline activities," say analysts.