S. Korean accused of lying to Covid-19 investigators sentenced to prison

SEOUL: A South Korean man accused of lying to authorities about his job and whereabouts during a coronavirus tracing probe was sentenced to six months in prison, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

The legal case is the most high profile yet in the South Korean government’s aggressive efforts to track, trace, and quarantine suspected coronavirus cases.

The court in Incheon, just to the west of Seoul, said that the 24-year-old man impeded contact tracing by lying in at least 20 instances and “inflicted huge economic and social damage and caused fear among community members,” Yonhap reported.

The man was accused of not disclosing that he taught at a school in Incheon after he tested positive for the coronavirus in May, during a major outbreak centred in a number of nightclubs and bars in Seoul.

Prosecutors, who have asked for a two-year sentence, said infections in at least 80 other people were traced to the man.

According to Yonhap, the man apologised in court, saying he did not realise the serious repercussions of his actions.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 69 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Wednesday, raising the country’s total infections to 24,422 with 427 deaths.