Seoul, South Korea — South Korea is very proud to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, thus coining the term: K-quarantine, Named after the global music phenomenon K-pop.
Two strategies to fight the virus while maintaining the economy seemed to work. This country Everyone has prevented a major outbreak Without closing the borders and locking the town Or draw a shout for dramatic restrictions on speech and movement. The country has established itself as a model for the rest of the world.
But now, Korea is struggling with a second wave of infection, and its strategy seems more unstable than ever. A new wave is spreading through the populous metropolitan area and through people who deeply doubt President Moon Jae-in’s epidemiological efforts. To further complicate matters, some of the government’s strongest allies in the fight against the young doctor, Covid-19, turned their backs on Mr. Moon. They were not satisfied with his health care reform program and went on strike.
The government is also trying to maintain a weak balance between virus control and economic protection, and between using government power to protect public health and not violating civil liberties.
“Our containment strategy, once considered a model to follow around the world, suddenly faced a crisis. “The whole country is in a difficult situation. People’s lives are falling apart.”
The number of new infections per day in Korea was less than 10, but since August 14th, it has recorded a three-digit number every day, with a population of 50 million, recording more than 20,000 cases and 326 deaths. New York Times database. Virus Spread rapidly in the church And large-scale anti-government protest rallies. President Moon’s government has threatened lawsuits and prosecution against church members and protesters accused of interfering with officials’ efforts to control the epidemic. But they pushed him on, calling him a dictator who ran the country under “quarantine martial law”.
Moon recently tightened restrictions, banned church gatherings and large outdoor gatherings, and closed nightclubs and bars. Epidemiologists have called for more drastic social distancing measures, such as banning all gatherings of 10 or more and closing hundreds of thousands of other venues such as professional sports games, cafes and wedding halls.
However, President Moon hesitated to that extent, fearing that the already shrinking economy would be damaged.
“We are at an intersection,” said Eun-kyung Chung, head of the disease control and prevention headquarters. “This week we will decide if we can stabilize the second wave of infection.”
At the end of February, South Korea reported 900 cases per day. However, the country has quickly flattened the curve of new infections thanks to aggressive contact tracking and testing programs. Also, the key to success was the public, curbing citizenship to fight the epidemic.
People wore masks every day. Government Used aggressively Surveillance camera footage, smartphone location data, and credit card purchase history allow you to track coronavirus patients and establish a transmission chain. Koreans also told President Moon’s ruling Democratic Party Overwhelming victory At the parliamentary elections in April.
By May, South Korea was convinced that the epidemic would not ring again and could become more economically active. I started a campaign. “A new everyday life with Covid-19”, We urge people to go out, socialize, spend, and enjoy keeping the economy running. If there is a backslide, the limit is put back into place.
“We cannot delay returning to normal life forever. “The quarantine is the beginning of an economic recovery, but it does not bring food.”
The government provided households with 14 trillion won ($11.8 billion) in cash futures to boost domestic demand. At the end of May, it opened 256 beaches across the country for summer vacationers. In July, Bible studies and other small religious gatherings were allowed, which were banned as a difficult means to monitor the spread of the virus.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in August, days before the incident surged prediction This year, the Korean economy is expected to contract only 0.8%, compared to the average 7.5% of other countries in the group.
Millions of Koreans visited the streets and shops in mid-August during a three-day weekend created by the Moon administration to provide “short but valuable breaks for those tired of the long pandemic”.
However, even before the start of the holiday on August 15, there were signs that relief of restrictions led to more infections.
a few days ago A fast growing outbreak It has diverged from Sarangjeil Church in Seoul, the home of a conservative political movement based on the belief in Moon. Another outbreak began on August 15, when critics of President Moon’s policies, especially those toward North Korea, attended a large anti-government rally in downtown Seoul. Some members of the Sarang Jeil Church were united with the crowd, a health official said.
On Wednesday, Pastor Kwang-Hoon JeonSenior pastor Sarang Jeil Church held a press conference and accused the government of silenced criticism and concealed plague failure by making the church a scapegoat.
Twelve other small outbreaks have also occurred, many of which have occurred in churches, and the government has urged all church services to be discontinued except online services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated September 1, 2020
Why is it safer to spend time together outside?
- Outdoor meeting Wind disperses the virus droplets and sunlight lowers the risk because it can kill some of the viruses. Open spaces prevent viruses from accumulating in concentrated amounts and being inhaled, and can occur when infected people exhale for long periods of time in confined spaces, said Dr Julian W. Tang, a virologist at the University of Leicester.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- At first the coronavirus It seemed to be mainly a respiratory disease — Many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, did not show many symptoms, but had a lot of coughing. The sickest person has pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and has been supplemented with oxygen. So far, doctors have identified more symptoms and syndromes. In April CDC added to the list of early signs Sore throat, fever, chills and muscle pain. Gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and nausea have also been observed. Another obvious sign of infection may be a sudden and profound decrease in infection. Smell and taste. Teens and young adults have developed painful red and purple lesions (nicknamed “nose bead toe”) on their fingers and toes, but there are few other serious symptoms.
Why does it help if you stand 6 feet away from others?
- Coronavirus is spread primarily through droplets in the mouth and nose. Especially when you cough or sneeze. CDC, one of the organizations using this measure Based on the recommendation of 6 feet With the idea that most of the large water droplets that people release when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within 6 feet. But 6 feet isn’t a magic number that guarantees full protection. For example, a sneeze can spew water droplets farther than 6 feet away. According to a recent study. That’s the law of experience. It should be safest to stand 6 feet outside, especially when the wind is blowing. However, always wear a mask even when you think you are far enough away.
There are antibodies. Am I immune now?
- Now is I think so for at least a few months. There are scary stories of people suffering from what appears to be the second fight of Covid-19. However, experts say that these patients can stop the infection process, with the virus slowly becoming infected for weeks to months after the initial exposure. People commonly infected with coronavirus turn-out Immune molecules called antibodies Protective protein made in response to infection. These antibodies are Last in the body 2-3 monthsIt may seem worrisome, but once the acute infection subsides, it’s completely normal, said Dr Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It is possible to re-infect the coronavirus, but it is unlikely that it will be possible within a short time after the initial infection or will make a person sick a second time.
What are my rights if I am worried about returning to work?
New cases growing every day are not just amazing developments. The proportion of patients with unknown sources of infection also increased from 10% in the first half to more than 21% in the second half of August. Concerns have been raised that health authorities will lose control. Of the transmission path.
The new outbreak is one of his greatest achievements as president, Mr. President Moon sounded increasingly fierce, proposing to use the blunt powers of the law to punish those who interfere with the government’s epidemiological efforts. His government declared’no tolerance’ and’maximum punishment’.
He criticized politically active conservatives for spreading the virus and threatening the economy, saying, “We cannot claim freedom of religion, assembly and expression because of such damage.”
“Prayer can give you peace of mind, but it does not protect you from viruses.
Police have so far prosecuted 959 people for violating the law to control the virus. Hundreds of people here have made government orders to wear masks, eat, drink, smoke, throw away trash, or have their jobs. Police arrested at least four people, including two pastors accused of misleading an epidemiological investigation by lying about their whereabouts or church size.
Authorities have also detained 202 people on charges of disseminating false information and leaking personal data, including those who claimed on YouTube that the government was manipulating test results to quarantine dissidents. A city in southeastern Busan has sued six churches for violating the government’s order not to meet public officials.
Last week, the government announced a series of measures that were discussed before the pandemic, including increasing the number of medical students. However, young doctors have already started strikes, protesting that they already have enough doctors and that the government needs to invest in improving health care in rural areas instead. The government has sued several doctors who refused to return to work.
Doctors also said they were disillusioned with the government’s powerful way to push ahead with controversial policies while the whole country was plagued by the epidemic.
“But talking to them was like talking to the wall,” said Dr. Ji-Hyun Park, the leader of a doctor on strike.