BTS' management apologises over member's Seoul bar visit

Members from 4 Korean bands, including BTS, visited bar in area hit by Covid-19

SEOUL : The manager of South Korean boy band BTS has apologised on behalf of one of its members who went to a bar last month, contrary to government advice, just as the country is trying to contain a recent coronavirus outbreak around Seoul's club scene.

Vocalist Jungkook visited a restaurant and a bar in the Itaewon neighbourhood with friends on April 25, BTS' management Big Hit Entertainment said on Monday.

A new cluster of virus cases emerged in that neighbourhood this month as social distancing measures eased on May 6, prompting authorities to delay school reopening and close bars and clubs again.

"We have no excuse that we placed the artist's personal life before we were able to emphasise the importance of social distancing. We bow our head in apology," the company said.

The 22-year-old, who was there before the first case among Itaewon clubgoers was confirmed, is not showing any symptoms and has tested negative for the coronavirus, Big Hit said.

"He is also deeply regretting how he did not follow social distancing measures seriously."

Local media reported three other boy-band members were with Jungkook during that outing, including Cha Eun-woo of Astro, Mingyu of Seventeen and Jaehyun of NCT.

The managers of all three issued statements confirming they were in Itaewon on the same day as Jungkook, apologising for their failure to follow social distancing measures.

As of Monday, 170 cases have been traced to the Itaewon outbreak, with several hundreds in self-isolation, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.- REUTERS