The number of new confirmed patients has exceeded 60,000 for three consecutive days. Due to the global spread of the pandemic, the entertainment industry, which has been released from quarantine, cannot avoid it as well.
Recently, celebrities who have been confirmed to be infected have been increasing regardless of broadcasting, music, and movie fields. Singer Kim Jong-min, Lee Seok-hoon, Jo Yu-ri, Yoon Jong-shin, group WINNER’s Kim Jin-woo, ENHYPEN’s Jay, GOT7’s Youngjae, actors Ong Seong-woo and Han Hyo-joo have been confirmed to be infected and are in self-quarantine.
Although there is still only a few, the re-pandemic is just beginning. Singers who are about to make a comeback are confirmed to be infected and have to postpone their schedules, while idols who are about to have a concert are also unable to go on stage due to the pandemic. Actors and staff who are filming dramas or movies are also frequently confirmed to be infected. Wearing an indoor mask is mandatory, but celebrities do not wear masks in order to take photos. The risk of infection is much higher for celebrities who do not wear masks.
In addition, as social distancing requirement was dismantled and quarantine guidelines were eased, the number of overseas schedules starts to rise. Since there might be foreign countries that allow people to take off their masks indoors, the possibility of infection increases. In fact, the number of cases inflow is only increasing.
On July 3rd, some concerts were postponed as Stray Kids‘ Lee Know, Felix, and I.N, who are on a U.S. tour with their team, were confirmed to be infected. The members had completed the third dose of vaccination, and the remaining five members and staff were all tested negative.
Mark of NCT was confirmed to be tested positive on July 25th. As a result, he will not attend the 2nd concert of NCT DREAM scheduled for July 29th-31st. NCT DREAM will have to hold a concert with six members. Singer Zico was also confirmed with the virus ahead of his comeback on July 27th. Zico will postpone all schedules and carry out his scheduled schedules from August 1st.
SBS drama “Taxi Driver 2” stopped filming after a number of staff were confirmed to be infected during filming in Vietnam. There is no infected case among actors such as Lee Je-hoon, but filming has been suspended since July 15th for safety due to the mass infection among the staff.
Kim Jong-min was also confirmed to be infected on July 23rd. A day before that, during the filming of KBS2’s “2 Days 1 Night,” he felt mild sore throat symptoms and conducted a self-diagnosis kit test which came out as positive. Filming was immediately suspended, and the rest of the cast in “2 Days 1 Night” was confirmed to be tested negative. In the movie “Believer 2,” the main actor Han Hyo-joo was confirmed to be infected and the filming schedule has to be postponed as a result.
Performances and various event venues are as dangerous as the filming site. Outdoor performances are crowded with a large number of audiences, but masks are not mandatory outdoor. Since the focus is on autonomy and responsibility (of wearing masks at gatherings of more than 50 people), perfect control is difficult even if the organizers of the performance say they will focus on quarantine guidelines.
In fact, many reviews have been posted on SNS and others that they have been confirmed to be infected after going to Psy‘s “Water Show.” Even if you search for “Water Show confirmed case” on Naver, the results are mostly posts about them “being hit with water as well as the virus” after going to Psy’s “Water Show”.
Even before it was held, the show was pointed out to be unstable. The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said there was no separate regulation banning water spraying during the performance, but it was advised that water-soaked masks have less transmission blocking function due to moisture. Psy said he would make efforts to prevent the spread by providing waterproof masks, but it was not enough to prevent the spread through autonomous quarantine.
In 2020 and 2021, broadcasters have come up with measures to counter the spread of the pandemic. Drama and movies were filmed in a way that thoroughly followed quarantine guidelines, and they had to stop or postpone filming in case of serious situations. The music industry also recorded without audiences, and adjusted the schedule to prevent many singers from being concentrated in narrow spaces.
Performances by singers such as concerts were not held at all. This is because it was difficult to thoroughly follow the quarantine rules and it was impossible to control the audience. It is now possible to even sing along. However, as confirmed cases occurred at festivals such as “Water Show”, concerns are growing over the spread of infected cases at performances again.
We should not be relieved that a chain infection has not occurred. It has not yet happened, but there are already signs of re-happening, and tension is circulating again in the entertainment and performance industries. We need to remember the past two years when we repeatedly had to cancel and stop filming, and new preventive measures different from the past are needed. It is time for everyone to put in their efforts in order to prevent a return of the pandemic.