Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that swine flu has been spreading. And in a sense, governments are right to quarantine people with cases and/or suspected cases of it.
But surely that quarantine should be done properly and effectively.
The Korean government is arguably not doing this. First, there seems to be a double standard going on. Koreans who may have come into contact with H1N1 are being quarantined in their homes whilst when it comes to us foreigners, we’re being rounded up and being put in a sub-standard quarantine facility which, according to eyewitness reports, is conducting sub-standard practices.
It’s all quite a joke, except it isn’t very funny. The reports from foreigners in quarantine are quite alarming. Examples include their trash overflowing the bins, the same thermometers being used on different ‘patients’ without being cleaned, a guy handing out brochures for a restaurant freely walking in and out of the building, the building is not equipped for such a role, excessively high temperatures inside the building, a nurse wiping the blood off an injection point with her bare hand, the list goes on. Check out other pages from those blog links for more info and/or updates.
It’s not all bad, but at best, it’s a farce.
And the US embassy doesn’t really seem to care. According to one blogger, this is how the conversation went…
Me: “Hiya! I just thought the Embassy should be aware that 30+ U.S citizens have been quarantined right outside Seoul for suspicion of swine flu exposure.”
Operator: “Okay, well it’s a weekend, and we’re closed. Monday’s memorial day, so could you call back on tuesday?”
Me: “You…you’re serious?”
Operator: “Is it an emergency? Cause if it is we have someone we can call.”
Me: “Um…let’s see, there’s 30 americans in quarantine for swine flu exposure. Basically, we’re arrested. It’s totally cool, don’t worry—we’ll call on tuesday—”
Operator: “Okay, thanks for calling.”
Me: “No wait—”
Now, sure, a few grains of salt should probably be taken here, and I don’t necessarily believe all the eyewitness reports or agree with all the sentiments people are expressing (in one pic, there’s a bloke wearing an Obama shirt…EEK!), but if even just half the stuff is true, it still paints a very disturbing picture. It appears governments don’t really care about this but after the media beat-up (before Kim Jong Il fixed that), they had to be seen to be doing something.