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The Latest: SKorea requires QR codes at 'high-risk' venues

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Staff from South Peninsula Hospital and Homer Public Health board the Tustumena to test 35 crew members and six passengers Monday, June 8, 2020, at the Homer Ferry Terminal in Homer, Alaska. The six passengers who boarded the state ferry out of Homer were quarantined along with several crew members after a member of the crew tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday when the ship was docked in Dutch Harbor. The Tustumena docked in Homer shortly after 7 p.m. Monday and all 41 people were tested on board and only allowed to disembark if they had safe, private transportation to their final destination to quarantine. (Megan Pacer/Homer News via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 as officials begin requiring nightclubs, karaoke rooms and gyms to register their customers with smartphone QR codes so they could be easily located when needed.

The figures from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday brought national totals to 11,902 cases and 276 deaths. At least 41 of the cases were reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have struggled to trace transmissions linked to entertainment venues, church gatherings and low-income workers who couldn’t afford to stay home.

Since late May, the country has been reporting around 30 to 50 new cases per day, a resurgence that has threatened to erase some of the hard-won gains against the virus as people begin to ease on distancing.

The nationwide requirement of QR codes at “high-risk” venues come after a week-long trial run in the cities of Seoul, Incheon and Daejeon, where some 300 businesses used an app developed by internet company Naver to collect the information of some 6,000 customers. The government is also encouraging churches, libraries, hospitals and movie theaters to voluntarily adopt the technology.

South Korea has aggressively mobilized technological tools to trace contacts and enforce quarantines.

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