June 24, 2015
Alright. It’s about time we tackled this subject, and did our best to calm the fears inflicted upon mothers of traveling children thanks to the media firestorm of rating-grubbing and click baiting. Though I know you can accuse of us click-baiting for this video as well, we’re not doing it to make you all shit your pants in fear. We’re trying to calm you down and put things in perspective a bit, so I hope you think that’s fair.
A couple more interesting things to note about MERS; another one of the reasons why it’s hurting Korea isn’t just because of a few people dying from it, but also because it’s destroying this year’s tourism revenue. We’ve spoken with a few people online who have cancelled their trips. And they’re not the only ones. The number of tourists dropped significantly after the MERS outbreak. Even worse, countries such as Hong Kong and Japan are advising their citizens to not visit South Korea unless necessary. Far fewer Chinese tourists are coming to Korea as well, and that’s devastating, because Chinese tourists make up a significant percentage of Korea’s tourism revenue.
If Korea continues to lose its influx of international travellers this summer, the industry could lose over $900 million in expected revenue, according to the Ministry of Tourism, at roughly a 20% decline and an estimated loss of 820,000 tourists. In other words, this perception of danger from MERS is having a really bad impact on the Korean economy.
Otherwise, another thing I didn’t talk about was the quarantines that are in effect in Korea. About 2,800 people are being quarantined due to MERS-like symptoms, and roughly 10,718 people are reported to have been released from quarantine. And at least 2,000 schools were temporarily closed – and some are still closed – mainly in Gyeonggi Province, which is where MERS is most prevalent. And though it seems like closing the schools isn’t really effective, it at least keeps parents satisfied that precautions were taken, right?
Whether people stay in quarantine, though, is what I find interesting. Some jobs might not want you to obey the quarantine ordered by your doctor. In fact, it happened to us back when we were teaching years ago and the SARS outbreak was rampant in Korea. The government said we had to stay home for a week after flying back from Canada, but our schools tried to order us to come to school and break the quarantine. I’m sure our jobs weren’t the only ones that value work over health (KPOP COMPANIES AMIRITE OR AMIRITE?!). Interestingly now, though, potential patients who refuse to be quarantined can pay a fine of 3 million won, though I’m not sure how they will be caught or reported.
So that’s it for now. I really hope, if you were scared of MERS beforehand, that you’ll feel a little more at ease now. Now back to Martina and the final stages of Dengue. She’s fortunately not bleeding everywhere and rashing, but she definitely went through the bone-breaker stage, which was pretty miserable for her. Now she’s just weakened and bed-ridden, but getting better!