K-pop star Chungha in quarantine after two of her staff test positive for coronavirus after Italy trip

K-pop singer Chung Ha has tested negative for the virus as of March 1.
K-pop singer Chung Ha has tested negative for the virus as of March 1.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE -K-pop singer Chungha has put herself under quarantine after two of her staff tested positive for the coronavirus following a trip to Italy.

The 24-year-old singer, who returned to South Korea from Italy on Feb 24, has tested negative for the virus as of Sunday (March 1), said a statement from her agency, MNH Entertainment. But two of her accompanying staff were found to have been infected.

One of them showed signs of fever upon returning to South Korea, while the other was found to be a confirmed case upon testing.

Chungha and the rest of the staff "will go into self-isolation as requested by Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention", as a precautionary measure, said the statement.

It added: "For the sake of safety, all scheduled activities have been cancelled for the time being, and we will continue to take the best possible measures and deal with (the virus) faithfully,"

This comes amid fears that other South Korean celebrities who went to Italy recently might have been exposed to the coronavirus. Stars such as Song Hye-kyo, Park Min-young and singer IU had all attended the Milan Fashion Week, which was held from Feb 18 to Feb 24. What made it more worrying was that many of them had stayed at the same hotel in Milan, Korean media reported.

Meanwhile, the quarantine means that Chungha will miss an upcoming performance at the Head in the Clouds music and arts festival on March 7 in Jakarta, with organisers 88rising confirming the cancellation on Twitter.

The former member of South Korean girl group I.O.I , which disbanded in 2017, has since found success as a solo artist, and recently collaborated with Indonesia rapper Rich Brian on the track These Nights.

As of March 1, South Korea's current number of coronavirus cases exceeds 3,100, as the country grapples with the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, while Italy's tally - the highest in Europe - exceeds 1,000 cases.