KATHMANDU: Various South Korean media outlets have said that the agencies of four idols have issued statements and apologised for their artistes’ role in the recent Itaewon sightings and failure to observe social distancing amid the resurgence of COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
On May 18, Dispatch reported that BTS’s Jungkook, SEVENTEEN’s Mingyu, NCT’s Jaehyun, and ASTRO’s Cha Eun Woo had spent a night out in the neighbourhood of Itaewon where the recent resurgence of COVID-19 began.
South Korea recently saw a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases after a patient with the virus visited clubs in Itaewon.
The four idols hung out in a restaurant and two bars in Itaewon from the evening of April 25 till dawn on April 26. The aforementioned confirmed patient visited clubs in the area on May 2 and tested positive on May 6. After this confirmed case was announced, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDSCHQ) requested that anyone who visited entertainment facilities in Itaewon between April 24 and May 6 refrain from leaving their homes.
Reports about idols who were spotted in Itaewon surfaced a few days earlier, but their names were not revealed, and their agencies stated they could not verify the fact as it pertained to the artistes’ personal lives.
The agencies of the four idols were under fire for their response stating that it was their idols’ private lives or was unable to be confirm. However, after Dispatch’s report, the idols’ agencies have released official statements stating the report is true and that all idols had tested negative for COVID-19.
In a statement Jungkook’s agency Big Hit Entertainment said: “It is true Jungkook went to the neighbourhood of Itaewon. However, at the time, he did not go to the place that became a problem due to the confirmed case in early May… However, there is no room for excuse regarding the fact that we, as the agency of the artiste in question, had not properly recognised the heavy importance of social distancing and prioritised the protection of the artiste’s private life over it. We bow our heads to everyone in apology.”
Mingyu’s agency Pledis Entertainment also released a statement. “First, we deeply apologise for causing concern to many with the report regarding Pledis Entertainment artiste SEVENTEEN member Mingyu’s visit to the neighbourhood of Itaewon. Mingyu is deeply reflecting on his inappropriate behaviour of not abiding by the social guidelines during the government’s social distancing period.”
Cha Eun Woo’s agency Fantagio in a statement said, “We have confirmed that Cha Eun Woo went to the neighbourhood of Itaewon on April 25. We apologise that he didn’t follow social distancing guidelines and caused concern due to our careless management … The artiste himself is deeply reflecting on not faithfully contributing to the social distancing efforts.”
Jaehyun’s agency SM Entertainment also apologised for their artiste’s behaviour. “We apologise for causing concern during a time when many people are struggling due to COVID-19. Jaehyun did not show symptoms, but when COVID-19 broke out in the club in Itaewon and started to spread, he voluntarily received a COVID-19 diagnosis test and tested negative. Jaehyun is deeply reflecting on the fact that he was not careful during the period of social distancing when everyone should be refraining from everyday gatherings. We also deeply apologise for failing to guide and manage our artiste to ensure that he carefully follow social distancing protocols during his personal time as well.
All four idols got tested for COVID-19 and received negative result.