Korea’s swine flu farce


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.

H/T Brian and Roboseyo.

6 Responses to “Korea’s swine flu farce”

  1. therubycanary Says:

    Just a small clarification: the blood being wiped away didn’t happen here in the quarantine, but when we went as a group for our medical exam. I believe that came off my blog, so sorry it wasn’t clear. But overall, although we’re comfortable, I got the impression he first three days that there was no clear understanding of how to run a quarantine or what to do with us.

    • bingbing Says:

      Thanks for that. Chin (er, chins) up, guys. I’ll link to this post in the forum of a much larger blog, connected to Australia’s biggest selling daily newspaper, when tomorrow’s forum comes up. It’s mainly about Australian politics so no promises as to how much interest it will stir up, but it can’t hurt. Still, there’s nothing like a bit of media exposure to help a government pull its finger out.

      I’m a Right-wing blogger, and Aussie, so I won’t go there myself, but it might be an idea for you to post something on a blog such as Daily Kos. It’s huge and you just never know… Sure, it’s about US politics, but since many of you are US citizens…

      CNN’s Political Ticker might be an idea, also. It’s pretty much WordPress’s biggest blog, and since this IS involving the Korean government, it’s worth a shot.

    • bingbing Says:

      PS Whether they’re following proper procedures finally still doesn’t mean your first few days shouldn’t still be highlighted in the media (and elsewhere) as much as us humble waygooks can make possible. After all, I doubt H1N1 will be the planet’s last viral outbreak and if they were so incompetent this time, and at the most critical stage, what about if a far more serious outbreak ever occurs?

      Good luck and give it some time. At the moment, everyone’s busy having kittens over North Korea’s nuke test, missile tests, and Roh Moo-hyun.

  2. thefrollickingmole Says:

    ttle sus on our Aussie ship case. Ships are crap places for virus’ to get around unnoticed, they dont usualy have a long gestation time, so where the fuck did that one spring from. Im more inclined to believe we may have had one or 2, and a bunch of false/inconclusives being hyped up to the wazoo…

  3. Poor Swinish « The Tizona Group Says:

    […] Korea’s swine flu farce […]

  4. Passing shadows « Asian Correspondent Says:

    […] two people called Margaret Maid and 13 Margaret Maidens.)* Pacman* Cloud pictures* Why are Americans under virtual arrest in South Korea?* Weird military parades* Impress nobody with all the characters you can create using […]


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