SEOUL - Members of K-pop boy bands iKon, Winner, WEi, The Boyz and Treasure tested positive for the Omicron variant this week as South Korea records all-time high numbers of daily Covid-19 cases.
Half the members of iKon - leader Jinhwan, Yunhyeong and Donghyuk - experienced flu-like symptoms and tested positive on Sunday (Jan 23). A fourth member, Ju-ne, tested positive on Wednesday.
This came after Super Junior's Eunhyuk tested positive last week after filming variety show Running Man (2010 to present), which led to the entire cast and crew having to be tested as well.
On Monday, 11-member group The Boyz's Eric tested positive, with bandmate Younghoon following suit two days later. On Thursday, a third member, Hyunjae, also tested positive.
Quartet Winner was the next to be struck by Omicron, with Seunghoon testing positive on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, three members of boy band WEi - Kim Dong-han, Yoo Yong-ha and Kang Seok-hwa - tested positive for the virus.
The other half of the six-member band were not affected, though they had been infected with the virus in 2021.
On Wednesday, Yoshi from 12-member band Treasure tested positive, together with the sole female K-pop star so far this week, Hyolyn from the disbanded girl group Sistar.
YG Entertainment, the management agency for iKon, Treasure and Winner, said in a statement that it has taken "preemptive measures that exceed the guidelines of the quarantine authorities" and it was continuously conducting Covid-19 testing of its artistes and staff.
This latest sudden spike of Covid-19 cases comes after a handful of big names in K-pop contracted the virus in late 2021.
Suga, RM and Jin from mega boy band BTS tested positive in December 2021 and girl group Blackpink's Lisa in November 2021. They were all previously vaccinated and subsequently made a full recovery.