26 K-pop stars now positive for COVID-19

There are now at least 26 K-pop idols who have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the last nine days as South Korea grapples to stem the surge in daily cases due to the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

On Jan. 27, Korean health authorities recorded 14,158 new COVID-19, the country’s highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic in 2020, to bring the total confirmed cases to 777,497.

(Clockwise from top left) The Boyz's Hyunjae and Ju Haknyeon; Treasure's Choi Hyun-suk, Junkyu and Mashiho; iKON's Chanwoo; Kep1er’s Seo Young-eun and Kim Chae-hyun; Weeekly’s Jaehee; and former IZ*ONE member Kwon Eun-bi (Instagram)

(Clockwise from top left) The Boyz’s Younghoon, Treasure's Yoshi, WEi's Kim Dong-han, iKON's Koo Jun-hoe, Hyolyn and WEi's Kang Seok-hwa and Yoo Yong-ha (Instagram)

(Clockwise from top left) The Boyz’s Eric, WINNER’s Lee Seunghoon, iKON’s Kim Jinhwan, Song Yunheong and Kim Donghyuk, EPEX’s A-Min, Jeff and Wish, and Super Junior’s Eunhyuk (Twitter, Instagram)

The 26 positive cases belong to nine K-pop groups while two are solo artists.

As of writing, those who tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 19 include five members of iKON, four members of The Boyz, four members of Treasure, three members of WEi, two members of girl group Kep1er and one member each of Super Junior and Weeekly.

On Jan. 27, K-pop idols who were announced to have COVID-19 are The Boyz’s Hyunjae and Ju Haknyeon, Kep1er’s Kim Chae-hyun and Seo Young-eun, iKON’s Chanwoo, Treasure’s Choi Hyun-suk, Junkyu and Mashiho, former IZ*ONE member Kwon Eun-bi, Weeekly’s Jaehee.

Hyunjae and Ju Haknyeon are the latest members of The Boyz who got the virus after Eric last Jan. 24 and Younghoon on Jan. 26.

Chanwoo is the latest member of iKON to get the virus after iKON’s Kim Jinhwan, Song Yunheong and Kim Donghyuk on Jan. 23 and Koo Jun-hoe on Jan. 25.

Other K-pop idols who tested positive are WINNER’s Lee Seunghoon on Jan. 24; Treasure’s Yoshi on Jan. 25; former Sistar member Hyolyn on Jan. 26; WEi members Kim Dong-han, Yoo Yong-ha and Kang Seok-hwa on Jan. 25; Super Junior’s Eunhyuk on Jan. 20; and EPEX’s A-Min, Wish and Jeff on Jan. 19.

Meanwhile, K-pop boy band SF9’s Chani and Hwiyoung were booked by the police for violating quarantine rules in South Korea.

The two were caught at a pub in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam, Seoul on Jan. 18. Korean media reported that the police were called to the scene after receiving a report that the bar was operating beyond the mandated closing time of 9 p.m.

The police booked 15 people including the two SF9 members on charges of violating quarantine rules. The two have issued apologies for the incident.