Coronavirus Around the World – South Korea

Apr 18, 2020

Coronavirus in South Korea - From a Hong Kong Resident

 

Introduction

OTL City Guides are designed to be the go-to for all kinds of lifestyle information. However, we never thought we'd be sharing stories about life during a global pandemic like the effects of the Coronavirus in South Korea.

Unfortunately, lifestyle these days seems to completely revolve around the Coronavirus COV-19 crisis. While so many of us are cooped up at home, it can be easy to forget that we're not the only ones going through this, so we've asked writers from around the globe to share their experiences.

 

From school to seclusion in South Korea

Can you imagine what it would be like to be a young girl from Hong Kong, staying in South Korea during the Coronavirus crisis? Josette takes you into her world through her account of Coronavirus in South Korea. She expected to study, work, and learn more about the country's culture. But instead, most of her time is spent inside and practicing social distancing. Read on to hear about her journey, and how South Korea is keeping its residents updated every time a new case emerges.

For stories from other locations, be sure to visit our Coronavirus blog, as we're gathering global perspectives. Our other latest blog post in this series is Coronavirus in France. We've also located a few places that will ship a face mask to you within a week or two.

You may also be interested in reading about how mass testing is helping South Korea to get back to some level of normalcy.

 

Living through Coronavirus in South Korea

By Josette Yuan

 

East Asia, Coronavirus in East AsiaI am Josette, from Hong Kong, and I'm now living in South Korea after joining a study tour.

Right upon my graduation from University, I went to South Korea for Working Holiday to seek job opportunities while exploring more of its culture. However, the good days didn’t last long. I studied the Korean language at Kyung Hee University for the first three months, and then the outbreak came. I did find some jobs, but then I'd lose them before I could event start.

Instead of calling for lockdown through the Coronavirus in South Korea, people are encouraged to stay home and wear a mask when they have to go outside. Many shops will not even allow customers inside if they do not wear a mask.

 

Government alerts are effective

However, the government sends an alert to everyone whenever there is a new confirmed case. The routes of the patients are shared online. So, the shops they visited can soon be reopened after being disinfected.

Now businesses are still open, but mostly for take-out orders. The tourist spots, like Meyongdong, are basically empty. It’s not surprising that many people have lost their jobs to the extent that the government has to provide financial aid. Meanwhile, the opening of schools is delayed or put online.

Side note: Emerging as a leader in its government response to Coronavirus in South Korea, cases are tracked and residents receive updates.

 

Spreading through a church assembly

The number of cases skyrocketed in South Korea in mid-February due to a religious assembly of a church, called Shincheonji, which is deemed as evil in the country.

There were thousands of people joining the meeting and were encouraged not to wear a mask while staying close to each other in a closed space. They had to shout out loudly, so it’s not hard to imagine how the virus has spread among them.

Fortunately, the founder was forced to provide the list of the participants under pressure. All the participants were tracked down and tested. Although the number of confirmed cases was astounding at the beginning, it’s well under control now thanks to the government’s effort.

 

Coronavirus masks in South Korea, Coronavirus social distancingA foreigner in South Korea in the time of a crisis

The number of foreigners in South Korea is huge, despite its strict restriction on foreigners. Especially in a time like this, I feel helpless and disappointed.

Non-residents cannot benefit from financial aid, even those who work and pay taxes. Som, I'm now without a job, stuck at home, and waiting for the virus to go away. I know there is nothing I can do, and everyone else is going through the same thing.

I still feel being alienated in this country, though. This feeling is much stronger than I have ever felt before. There are also added difficulties that I have encountered due to language and cultural differences.

 

After we overcame

The virus has taken more than 100,000 people’s lives. I am sure we grow stronger and become more united by fighting against the Coronavirus together.

However, I also see ignorant racism against Asians and useless arguments over all sorts of things when we should focus on fighting against the virus. I hope people can learn from it. We should neither blame innocent people nor spread hatred in times like this (or any time).

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