The coronavirus crisis is not over: South Korea quarantines two and a half million people

Although the definitive cancellation of the Mobile World Congress and the decrease in the growth of new cases in China, they could give the impression that the worst of the coronavirus crisis has already passed. However, when we talk about epidemiology (and its socio-economic consequences) we must never trust: the situation can change from one day to the next.

And the best example is South Korea. While the Yonhap news agency confirmed the first death from the virus, an outbreak in Daegu city, linked to a local church, has prompted authorities to ask its two and a half million inhabitants not to go out on the street and use control measures (such as masks) even indoors.

Coronavirus has arrived in Korea

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And, in the opinion of the city's mayor, the epidemiological approach that the country is using has been overtaken by reality. "National quarantine efforts that are currently focused on blocking the (Chinese) virus from entering and stopping its spread are inadequate to prevent the disease from circulating in local communities," he explained to justify quarantining.

Indeed, one of the keys to the outbreak of the church is that, following the recommendations of the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, none of those affected stopped attending weekly services because they thought it was a common cold. After all, "no one had traveled outside the country." And, the result has been an "explosion" of infections in Daegu and the southeast already reaching the Seoul metropolitan area.

So much so that Kim Gang-lip, South Korea's deputy minister of health, acknowledged this week that "we are seeing infections in some areas such as Seoul and Daegu, where it is difficult to confirm the cause or the routes of the infections. [So we believe] COVID-19 has been introduced from abroad and is beginning to spread through community broadcasts in limited ranges. "

How does it affect us?


That is the question, how does the extension of the crisis affect South Korea not only to us but to the whole world. These days, China is already beginning to recover normality little by little (to prevent contagion from growing again) and, with that normality, it is expected that the industrial, economic and technological world will recover from a break that has been going on for months. But Korea's weight in global technology is enormous and the consequences of the generalization of the quarantine remain to be seen. Above all, because we still do not know for sure what measures the Government is going to take.

On the other hand, and to extract something positive from the Korean situation, the data on the virus that we will obtain from these outbreaks will allow us to better understand its real behavior and will open the door to build more precise epidemiological models (and not so dependent on those so criticized Chinese data). In other words, the actual internationalization of the epidemic will allow us to obtain better tools with which to combat it.

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