Last week, reports surfaced that a staff member of a K-pop singer was infected with COVID-19 after a trip to Milan, Italy. Speculations were wild as to who the K-pop singer in question was, and the report included that the singer would soon be releasing a new song. Many suspected it was Chungha, who was in the Italian city for Milan Fashion Week.

Over the weekend, her agency, MNH Entertainment, confirmed that 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 yesterday, said a statement from her agency.

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 Centres 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 (it) 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 actresses Song Hye Kyo and Park Min Young and singer-actress IU had all attended Milan Fashion Week, which was held from Feb 18 to 24. What made it more worrying was that many of them had stayed at the same hotel in Milan, Korean media reported.

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Meanwhile, Chungha’s quarantine means that she will miss an upcoming performance at the Head In The Clouds music and arts festival on Saturday in Jakarta, with organisers 88rising confirming the cancellation on Twitter.

While she was in Milan, the former member of I.O.I member received a racist comment as she made her way to the Iceberg show. Someone had posted an Instagram story of her photo with the caption, “The coronavirus is moving.” The story was reported and deleted. The user uploaded the same photo again sans the caption but later took it down.

She released a new music video on February 29 titled “Everybody Has”.

As of today (March 2), South Korea’s current number of coronavirus cases exceeds 4,000, 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.

Image: TPG/Click Photos
Text: The Straits Times
Additional text: Hidayah Idris