February 4 Tuesday 2020 How it is in South Korea Pre-Panic

[ WHEN ] it slowly happened over Lunar NEW Years – South Korea’s most celebrated holidays (second-up comes Korea ThanksGiving) nearing the end of January 2020, and we knew it would have massive effect after the Chinese populace finish traveling after its NEW Years Holiday – and it’s epidemic spread measured in-awe as confirmed diagnosis rose from 2,000 to 20,000 in China . currently at the first Week of February this is an Asian epidemic to the West, but it is Chinese within the Orient .

[ WHERE ] case-in-point the most effected geographical area is South-West of the Capital of SEOUL and its surrounding satellite neighborhoods – where Chinese residents are concentrated . aside from that, it comes to fashion mecca MyeongDong smack in the middle of downtown SEOUL, where Chinese flock to shop and Jeju island where Chinese are given residency if they purchase Real-Estate .

people have been manically seeking locations of affected peoples movement geographically that two maps are now available on the Web and Android SmartPhones by college students, and if you want a general layout : draw a diagonal line from North-East of SEOUL limits, down through South-West of SEOUL past its satellite city of Ansan – and if you must know in tune to the up-coming Oscar-nominated Korean motion picture : the former is rather poorer neighborhoods, where-as the later is where Chinese, South-East Asian and Arab population is concentrated .

[ HOW ]

in the early stages : Koreans and Chinese who physically came from originating Wuhan caught the virus, but soon others began getting it second-hand, even from abroad coming-back to be diagnosed : like from tour bus in neighboring Japan, (huge liner) cruise to Hong Kong and conference in Singapore .



this is the second nation-wide epidemic to hit Korea Post-Millennium after MERS Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (end of May to early June 2015) so in a sense : less scared . however there is a stark difference – perhaps to opposing realms – on the government’s reaction AND citizen’s fear . noteably as there were two different presidential administrations governing the nation . South Korea was free’d from military dictatorship over 1988 SEOUL Olympics, but corporate business’ President and the normal people’s President after that were all found hanky-panky by their relatives taking corners-off government projects, so-much-so that the people chose the original dictator’s daughter to retake the nation, which resulted in a comedy where she was found as a halucinating witch . this was the preceding administration where she used out-of-date similar tactics of spying on relatives’ reactions when a ship-load of students capsized . and she was the commander-in-chief when the last MERS Epidemic struck, when news was blacked-out (or more precisely : those who spread any information on the subject were picked-up) and people relied on On-Line chat and forums to keep up-to-date on current status and options to take . she never appeared on the news nor public to declare anything duh 2.

the current President in contrast has been out in the open taking measures to react and decide, understandably for he was the very administration the former was cracking-down on when in power . so everyone knows what is going-on up-to-the-minute, or rather say a few hours !

( and the China Syndrome )

although today Korea is surrounded by FOUR Global Super-Powers namely China, Russia, Japan and the States, it always has been a sub-country of China : paying respects and under its guard . and so except for out-right battle during the last phase of the Korean War again North Korea, yearns to retain amicable relations thus reluctant to close its borders out-right except for flights originating from Hubei Province, part the original source of Wuhan its Capital . and considering China’s massive inflicted populace it is necessary to note as of latest news today February 5 Wednesday : China is implementing legal mandate 115 issuing a harsh 10 year prison sentence up to even death charge, to those spreading the deadly disease intentionally – noteably after a diagnosed person who has been to Wuhan, was found to have attended conferences in Fujian Sheng /after/ diagnose coming in touch with over 4,000 people duh



aside from all-sorts of business especially restaurants and shopping stores practically empty, people are having a hard time getting protective face masks and hand sanitizing liquids . some regional offices has been giving-out boxes, but in the case of larger cities especially in the Capital of SEOUL : any give-away masks and sanitizers at subways stations are snapped in 30 minutes and shelves at drugstores and super-marts are empty . currently the most chance you have is convenient stores .

ofcourse South Korean buy On-Line everything nowadays, and there are so, so many outlets but many one-time-usage protective masks are out-of-stock and some would simple cancel orders while the only ones left are say : W2500 – that’s over TWO Dollars USD for those that were selling below W1000 before last Christmas (production cost about W300 and whole-sale W600 each). these are high-quality masks Made-in-Korea that local people are seeking, almost like the frantic obsession to flock to European Designer Brand Boutiques, believing that those that filter-out higher particles would be safe . these are Qualified KF94 (Officially for sanitary protection) by the Ministry of Drug and Drug Safety, while some KF80 (Officially for dust storm) are still available .

South Korea began implementing KF Qualification including KF99 (Officially for public health) after nation-wide MERS Epidemic, following North American N95 R95 P95 and EU FPP1 FPP2 FPP3 – local medical professionals suggest KF80 ample protection for this virus, as over that might be hard to breathe

aside from complaints on forums and reviews that one cannot find masks at stores, stories abound from local mask factories of Chinese WholeSale brokers knocking on their gates with Hundreds of Million Won in CASH to buy-off stock already reserved to contracted Buyers, as snap-shots appear on news-sites of probably the same Chinese piling-up large boxes of masks at inCheon and Jeju Airports to re-pack for compact freight back to China .



while China’s Southern-most specially-governed district and island of Hong Kong has been estimating more realistic numbers than government-regulated statements from China the effected populace, straight-out of a worst-case science fiction pandemic movie : a mutated strain of Wuhan Corona Virus has been found late today February 4 Tuesday at Pasteur institute of Shanghai . this is no good news, as humans may contract it easier and harder to find with existing measures .



Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced today February 5 Wednesday : one confirmed patient is Officially released in good health and another plan to be Hooray

over-all it seems the virus IS containable AND curable if concentrated care is implemented with latest medical technology including experimental cure for AIDS – meaning, in developed countries especially in case of those who did not have any existing medical problems . citizens and legal visitors in South Korea Post-Millennium is a stark contrast to Ground-Zero at Wuhan, China where this all started – as suspected patients are systematically seeked, isolated and cared in the former, while even those who are sure they are inflicted simply cannot enter a hospital nor any medical care including getting hold of a face-mask due to long queue lines in the case of the latter . hence almost 25,000 diagnosed and 500 dead in all-of China, while only 236 diagnosed and 2 dead over the rest of the World put-together to-date February 5 Wednesday .

but on the other side of the spectrum : there are scientists although not many, racing against S-P-E-E-D however days and Months than minutes and seconds – much alike Ford v Ferrari in search for a vaccine to cure this Wuhan Corona Virus at five corners of the Globe . as an attestment that Global cooperation is the only way to Earthly well-being and ever-lasting peace on Planet Earth : in the end, our final Hope may lay with the imperial College Research Team headed by Professor Robin Shattock in reducing the time needed to discover a vaccine for this spreading BioHazard (from foreseen 2.5~5 Years to mere 5 Months, while I as a sci-fi maniac and pandemic movie fan expected 2 Weeks~2 Months at most duh) as long as he gets enough funding . and /that/ is the culprit in this acute monetary World, for once interest in a virus wanes, like SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome : development for its vaccine slows into a doldrum .


– last update February 5 Wednesday night, Korea Tech BLog

( February 12 Wednesday Update ) Riding into The Danger-Zone:

as protective dust mask prices stablelized (No, not hard-to-get but just getting expensive now over W3,500 ~ 5,000 mark – that’s 42 Dollars US) as the government began regulating bulk-export (largely Chinese brokers) and crack-down on local factories (where they held finished disposeable face masks in boxes marked as other products) with news of British Gem-Class cruise liner with 174 effected out-of total 3711 crews and passengers aboard, docked in Yokohama Bay where Japanese authorities cannot check all of them thus confining the ship more-over in concern of Official numbers of infected adding-up into Japanese turf..

First optimistic news at top-line in-print: “No additional diagnosed & effected AND THREE recovered & leaving hospital.. ‘was NOT a serious illness”

although the young and middle-aged knew better, the elders welcomed this news as “phew~ now we can move-about from confining ourselves”. again: current government stance – in stark contrast to the previous opposing government ousted – closed whole buildings and zeroed-in on those who came in close-contact of effected, and gathered-in to care-for those diagnosed – a scene contrary to Ground-Zero Wuhan where even those who were positive they were ill could-not enter a hospital in the first place . this, a day-after historic Oscar Award-winning from the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences in Hollywood, California of South Korean movie ironically titled – while its story content was not of biological germs, but social class-clash – gave local citizens a sensual awakening of a nation that was now neither poor (to survive from food ration cans smuggled from US bases) nor subjective (to surrounding Super-Powers). but Yes, the preceding sentence is full of errors – to be discretely disected in another Post/related BLog.


( February 21 Friday Update, changing the Title of this Post to PANiC )

as Official Authorities at KCDC announce Wuhan Virus Update two times a day : in the morning at 10am and again late afternoon at 5pm: number of effected rose about 50 in the morning then another 50 in the afternoon, totaling over 200 in all of South Korea of which about 150 is known to have originated from a local religeous sect. based in DaeGu – South Korea’s Official third major City following the Capital of SEOUL and the Port City of Busan (formerly Pusan during the Korean War) . such cult has already effected the whole of South Korea as preceding President was revealed to have been receiving administrative advice from the daughter of another . and now this sect.known to Koreans as simply ShinCheonJi (direct translation means a NEW HEAVENLY LAND) is all-over the news . and you could tell something is already erry from its long Official Name : Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, right. it has long held dubious notion especially since its founder appeared on news of involvment with female followers .

but all rumours aside, two main obstacle comes to place from two verified practice of this religion :

  1. among a series of churches they have built in foreign soil, they have one in Wuhan where Corona Virus originated and Chinese-Korean residents visited here during Chinese Lunar NEW Years a Month ago and returned here to DaeGu.
  2. they sit close kneeling next to each-other thus faciliting virus spread .
  3. and their notorious following is of such general opinion that, its followers choose NOT to reveal themselves even if they know they are sick from deadly disease,
  4. and more-over many followers act as spies, attending other churches to recriut followers to migrate – another practice they wish to remain secretive .

add to this, the Military might of the nation is beginning to be compromised so if this were a weapon much like lethal gas of the Great War WWi World War One.. it is successful as a result . as yesterday a Naval Base in the Souther island of Jeju closed, after-which an Air Force Base this morning then an Army  Base this afternoon – most from officers meeting their girlfriends (two of which is found to be ShinCheonJi followers) while at leave then returning to base .


( 22nd Saturday Morning update )

while Central Accident Prevention Division of Ministry of interior and Safety announced over 9300 followers of ShinCheonJi Church are being saught to isolate to check for virus infection (amazing as neighboring Japan couldn’t tackle the British cruise ship docked at Yokohama, with 3711 people on-board at-once)

Number of diagnosed patients rose 142 over-night totalling 346 in South Korea: of which 92 (totalling 111 by day’s-end) rose from CheongDo DaeNam Hospital alone – where the nation’s first death of this disease occured in the Mental Patients Wing (CheongDo is the name of region on the Southern out-skirts of DaeGu City and is a huge nursing hospital-by-name for elderly but Officially a general hospital).

eventually a deadly link between this hospital and the church which gave mass-infection yesterday : elder brother of the chairman of this church was hospitalized here, then showed critical signs last Month to pass-away by January 31st . there-after family mourning period was held until February 2nd, after which quite a number of church followers visited here February 11th to pay respects .


( evening Update ) so first it was those infected from traveling abroad and from China and specifically Wuhan, and news began to hint it was beginning to be contained and wane – where citizens relieved they hadn’t bought expensive masks now going over W3,000 a piece . but it became clear yesterday : the second phase was in motion – we knew it was coming from Chinese who traveled during its Lunar NEW Year – of those infected from those who traveled to-and-from South Korea, zeroing-in on the dubious church based in DaeGu with branches throughout the nation as well as abroad . you could say the City is becoming Korea’s Wuhan, as the streets and subway are emptying and also super-mart selves as citizens dig-in for a longer stance .

to up the ante, Official sources are revealing numbers periodically now from the previous twice-a-day where it is scaringly doubling-by-day : 229 added today to make it a total of 433 infected in South Korea, only second to originating China (76,291) – not counting the British cruise ship Diamond Princess (634) as part of Japan where it is docked, was quarantined (and originally built) since February 4.

plus those who had been downtown would have noticed people gathering en-masse behind SEOUL City Hall and right in front of the American Embassy, especially every Weekend for what-ever rally which now seldom make news HeadLines as there are so many and frequent . and in note of yesterday’s surge in group-infection at church, the Mayor has Officially prohibitted demonstrations in this central location . but as it has no legal grounds – as the point of current administration guarantees freedom of speech and gatherings against preceding related to modern Korea’s military dictatorship, a church gathering of Christian Council of Korea noteably to oust current President, took place this afternoon (then consecutively two-days in a row on Sunday too) shouting that the virus is OK outside on open grounds, as the Mayor himself was out-there is disuade people .


( 23rd Sunday Update )

169 more people has been affected making a total of 602 (ShinCheonJi 329 and CheongDo DaeNam Hospital 112), only third after Diamond Princess at 691 aside from originating China (76,936). italy has suddenly jumped into 155 over Japan 146 and the rest below 90 mark.

another big news aside from the Church and Hospital above today, is Religious Pilgrimage to israel . a couple of group tours to israel including Catholic group of 39 from Northern KyeongSang Province (which mass-epidemic DaeGu City is a part of) from around February 8 to 16 and 9 have been diagnosed of Corona Virus upon returning . upon considering this, israel authorities refused disembarcation from Korean Airlines flight carrying another group (177 Korean nationals) that arrived in Ben Gurion serving Tel Aviv 7:30pm on 22nd Saturday evening, except israelis (decision made after the plane took-off from inCheon Airport serving SEOUL). they waited in the plane for two hours, soon to leave by 9:50pm to make a total of 24-hour flight back-home . on top of this israel announced approximately 1600 Koreans traveling in israel will be self-quarantined (in hotels) for 14 days.

disposable one-days safetly masks level KF94 (this is South Korean standard thus all Made-in-Korea) available today are over W5,000 a piece – more than FIVE times last Christmas just before Wuhan Conrona Virus became know in the Peninsula .


( 24th Monday night Update ) now there is no-end while interviews with leading professional around the Globe, stating this is the beginning of the making of a Pandemic :

  1. additional 231 diagnose today to make 833 Total (of which almost 3/4 still the bulk 682 in KyeongBeuk Region icluding DaeGu – and about half followers of ShinCheonJi Church and 1/8 at 113 CheongDo DaeNam Hospital), toppling Diamong Princess now at 691 to make South Korea the most infected country besides China a deadly 77,150.
  2. israel is offering about 1300 Koreans mostly traveling in pilgrimage, free flight back to South Korea.(mostly disposeable) safetly mask manufacturers in South Korea is reported to produce 12 Million pieces daily working 24 hours to match the need . however they are barely available now over W4500 a piece On-Line and the same expression in Korea: “harder to find a needle in a haystack” in DaeGu where current patients are concentrated . so almost nil is available to everyday consumers that when word got out masks would be available at CostCo: customers stood in line hours before opening and videos emerged on news of a drone capturing endless queue line of people wating to purchase (per-person limit of) 30 masks at an eMart Super-Mart in DaeGu. so it seems most of the produce is purchased by coorporations and snatched-off by Chinese brokers, both in-bulk.

and while watching air-wave channels and entertainment Cable TV : you begin to wonder how news-casters and actors can keep-on recording normal broadcasts.. and here today a popular weather caster and web-tune illustrator announced to leave work early to check for high-fever.. italy the next devastated country’s effected rose to 229 (170 from Northern Lombadia where 11 regions are quarantined) and 7 dead – and a region without much CCTV still in quest where it all started .


( 26 Wednesday night Update )

with total effected over a thousand at 1261 and 12 dead, almost 150~200 more people are diagnosed daily . authorities still seem to be trying to track those who came in contact with them, but with the secretive church sect.effecting over half of patients its effectiveness is fading into sand-smog again originating from China .

whatever to calm worries, the government is issuing plans to reroute current mask shortage increasing by the day along with elevating price .

  1. export will be limited to 10% of production
  2. 50% will be rerouted to desperate areas like Daegu
  3. government will coordinate with Farm Assocation and Post Office – both which operate banks and wells as regional brick-and-mortar and On-Line Stores – to sell higher-quality KF94 safety masks from tomorrow, but limiting to 30~50 per person only throught their website and app.to evade massive queue like in DaeGu eMart . if you have a foreign resident number : better register as a member in advance .

if you are in South Korea of Official business, education nor residency and live or work near a super-mart : eMart will stock-up early morning and then 2~3pm in the afternoon, while better drop-by early-on in Lotte Mart where both will now have a limit of 5~30 pieces per person . HomePlus sells from 3pm at 5 per person .

still your best bet will be to try convenience stores around you, although the numbers will be considerably less . GS25 stocks-up twice-per-Week where-as (Lotte) 7-11 early-morning .

if all fails, you can try reloading popular coupon apps.than existing On-Line Shopping Malls, of which Coupang is gaining momentum with agressive delivery (and returns).


( February 28 Friday afternoon ) effected number passed thousand-mark 26 Wednesday, and in mere two days over two-thousand effecting about 500 daily now . so it’s a matter of how well you keep fit for you immune system to fight-off the virus when it eventually comes . but in this country the chances are you will be cared-for AND cured .

perhaps more psychologically AND mentally stressful is shortage of (disposable one-day use) safetly masks . from two days ago the governement issued Official statements they will be distributed among convenience stores, drugstores, Farmers and Hanaro Mart and Post Offices from 27 Thursday . many simply visited these government-run store-fronts yesterdaly – to find they will be be foremost distributed among stores around the most-effected Kyeong-Buk Region which DaeGu is a part of and begin sale next-day today . but news only show hoards of people standing in rows then complaining of waiting two-hours to purchase 5 masks, although some regional administration offices called (Korea’s Region) Dong-Office representatives personally distributed door-to-door – welcome to elders who cannot move around .

the main reason above is scarcity and price . the new distribution masks’ lowest price is previewed for W800 compared to current On-Line stores available for purchase over W5,000 a-piece . if you are in South Korea and need masks, currently the best bet is resale-forums where indiviuals who have accumulated bulk boxes for resale, now with government crack-down on exports as well as over-pricing is selling below W2000 a-piece . for this you have to have an alien regristration number to become member of these forums, then watching if the seller has previous track-records .

( Evening supplement ) two reports from italy where effected numbers rose to 888:

  1. Milano University research team deducted from its Gnome the Corona19 may have started in China last October ~ November, a Month or two before it was Offically announced by Chinese authorities . this supports rumours among local taxi drivers around November : not to go near Wuhan Market .
  2. similar sources showed a different strain was isolated from italian patient, than that from Chinese tourists to italy, suggesting the virus may have been spreading weeks before it was first detected .

it addition carriers from italy has spread this beyond Western Europe to the whole Western contient including UK, Middle East and Africa . so the only continent left is South America after which this will become a Global Pandemic from last phose of the current epidemic.. just like in the movies .


March 3 Tuesday noon Update : South Korea rose a deadly 800 onto February 29 Saturday, to decline to 500 additional on independence Day March 1 Sunday but to keep-on rising about 500 per-day to-date (numbers are mostly late afternoon or ending midnight so additions may not calculate exactly):

  • February 29 Saturday : South Korea +741 Total 2055
  • March 1 Sunday : South Kora +555 Total 3736
  • March 2 Monday : South Korea 4335, italy 1696
  • March 3 Tuesday : South Korea 4812, italy 2036, France 191, US 100

where mask distribution is the culprit now, as every is aware : spread is inevitable . main oppositions complaints amounting to ousting the current Presidential administration centered on their decision to leave Chinese entering the country well-after CoronaVirus’ origin became clear, but they are feeling all-over Korean news and forums how citizens are frustrated of going to Post Offices and Hanaro-Mart where the government released press releases of how they released massive amounts of masks.. only to find each received mere 20-people’s worth of stock, and the rest had to return empty-handed . current mask prices are (KF94 standard by piece, where Large size for adults is much harder to get than Small for ladies and children, also easier-to-breath KF80 is easier to get):

  1. major On-Line malls W4000~5000, readily available
  2. SEOUL’s and there-for Korea’s fashion centre : MyeongDong where bulk middle-men are dumping masks in aware of current government crack-down on mass exports to China as well as holding stocks at factory to raise consumer price, W3000~3500
  3. On-Line resale forums where consumers sell to consumers : W1500~3500
  4. minor On-Line shops operated by local manufacturers W1500 ~2500 but sells-out few minutes after daily release time announced in-advance,

although the President Officially made it a proirity – two days in a row – to distribute masks to be readily available to all, by the end of day they seem to find a working solution, to convince people they don’t need to wear masks : as Korea Centre of Disease Control on their briefing lamely announced

  1. masks were not crucial protection against Corona Virus but keeping enough distance is .
  2. masks are necessary in-doors if air is ventilated and the room is large enough .
  3. cotton masks can be washed and re-used .

..all three points the contrary of what they advised citizens in the beginning of this out-break, Jesus . so in the end, politics and propaganda weighs heavily on disasters like this as ruling administration in neighboring Japan as well as the States is playing-down the inevitable effect of this epidemic-going-pandamic, in view of Olympics in the former and Presidential Election on the latter .

a Korean research team has made a break-through in countering vaccine following British and Chinese claims but all has to go through more testing phase, and added on separate Post in the search for Corona Vaccine . but again the Virus fights-back in (already) developing a new strain according to Chinese researchers – all today’s news .

–  last Update March 4 Wednesday sun-rise –