31 people infected with COVID-19 in Korean actors’ plays; K-drama filmings shut down to prevent infection

(From left) Seo Sung-jong, Kim Won-hae and Heo Dong-won (Play DB / SSGG Company / Ace Factory) 

After Korean actors Seo Sung-jung, Kim Won-hae and Heo Dong-won were confirmed to have been infected with coronavirus disease, 28 other people involved in their plays tested positive for COVID-19. 

Fear of possible COVID-19 cluster infection has forced Korean TV channels and production companies to temporarily stop the filming of Korean dramas for up to one week until Aug. 31 as South Korea saw a surge in new coronavirus cases. 

According to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Aug. 23, there are now 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases related to the theater company San, an increase of five cases from the day before. 

San is in charge of the plays “Jjamppong” and “Cattle” and according to the theater company, 41 members of the troupe underwent COVID-19 testing. 

“Jjamppong” cast includes Seo Sung-jung, Kim Won-hae and Heo Dong-won while Seo and Heo are also in “Cattle.” The two plays were scheduled to be performed at Yohangza Theater in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul  from Aug. 19 to 30. 

It started with Seo Sung-jong who got infected with COVID-19 on Aug. 19 that prompted the theater company to cancel the performance of “Jjamppong” scheduled on that day. Kim Won-hae and Heo Dong-won were announced to have the virus the following day. 

Besides the plays, Seo Sung-jong is appearing in the KBS2 K-drama “Men are Men” and as a result of his infection, the filming was stopped. 

Some staff in “Men and Men are also working in the upcoming KBS drama “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol,” which also halted filming to prevent any infection. In addition, Seo Sung-jong and Heo Dong-won are appearing in “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol” that further complicated the schedule of the drama filming. 

South Korea has confirmed 397 new COVID-19 cases on Aug. 23, bringing the total cases to 17,399, an increase of 2,801 cases in the last two weeks since Aug. 9. Of the total cases, 14,200 people have recovered and 309 have died, leaving 2,890 active cases. 

The increase in confirmed cases has prompted the Korean government to raise social distancing to level 2, which mandates people to “postpone or cancel non-essential outings, social gatherings, events, or travel” and wear masks when they go out.