Food, water and masks: South Korea’s COVID-19 quarantine kits
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With more than 5,000 identified cases of the COVID-19 virus, South Korea has the second-largest number of infections in the world. In an attempt to stop the epidemic from spreading, the government has launched an aggressive testing campaign – around 110,000 people have been screened so far, according to the website Worldometer. The government is also providing support and assistance to those in quarantine. Our team spoke to two South Korean residents about the country’s fight against coronavirus.
Joseph Kim is an American citizen of Korean origin who works in the capital, Seoul, and lives in the city's eastern district, Gangdong. Last week, he ran into an acquaintance in the hallway at work. That friend was later diagnosed with coronavirus. Kim was contacted by the authorities and was tested for the virus. The result was negative, but doctors still asked him to undergo quarantine for two weeks, which is thought to be the incubation period for the virus.
The local district council identified all of the people who had had contact with my acquaintance and had them tested. They also identified all of the places where he had been. They shut down some of those places and sterilised everything. The council calls me twice a day. They ask me to take my temperature and to pay close attention to any symptoms.
I find the way that the epidemic is managed very reassuring. I’d rather see lots of people tested so that all of the cases are identified and can access treatment, as opposed to letting people go untested.
On February 28, Kim took to Reddit to share photos of the box that he had received that day from the dictrict's public health officials. The box contained food, water, masks, toothbrushes, a thermometer, hand-sanitising gel, a bag for dirty tissues and even a guide for how to self-quarantine with instructions for accessing emergency funds from the government. This financial aid is provided to people in quarantine who can’t work. In total, the box is supposed to contain everything you need to live in quarantine in your home for two weeks.
A photo posted on Reddit February 26 by Joseph Kim, an American living in Seoul. The photo shows the contents of a kit supplied by local authorities to help him get through quarantine for the COVID-19 virus.
The box also contained a message from the centre for public health in the Gangdong neighbourhood thanking Kim. "Thank you for your cooperation in helping avoid the spread of coronavirus. Here are some supplies to help you during your quarantine. Please make sure to practice good hygiene (wash your hands with soap for at least 30 seconds and wear a mask).”
Public health workers dropped off the box in front of his house and Kim was instructed to wait for them to leave before going to get it (Photos from Joseph Kim)
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On February 28, Kim took to Reddit to share photos of the box that he had received that day from the dictrict's public health officials. The box contained food, water, masks, toothbrushes, a thermometer, hand-sanitising gel, a bag for dirty tissues and even a guide for how to self-quarantine with instructions for accessing emergency funds from the government.
In an attempt to combat the spread of the virus, South Korea has launched a testing campaign all around the country. Shops, gyms and other facilities where infected people have gone have all been shut down and disinfected.