Ruby Ramblings

Winds of Change
May 25, 2009, 8:37 am
Filed under: South Korea Quarantine, Travel

So there has been a complete change in game plan.

We have been told all of the folks sent to the hospital this week have tested NEGATIVE for H1N1. We are all happy that everyone is healthy and that the symptoms were any combination of side effects from moving to a new country and not swine flu.

In spite of that, we are all being put into solitary confinement, and will only be allowed to leave our rooms to go to the bathroom. They have announced they will be posting guards in the hallways, and anyone caught outside for an unreasonable amount of time will have to start their quarantine over.

The duration now is seven days from today. I’m one of the lucky ones that a) I have a laptop and the internet works in my room and b) I get to stay with my roommate as there are only two of us and niether of us is showing symptoms. (Some of the rooms have up to four people in them, but they will all be slpit up. Several people do not have their own computers or cell phones, so will have no way to keep in contact with people.)

The questions being raised by several of the folks in the quaranine are as follows:
1. We were supposed to be quarantined seven days from the last day we had contact with the positive person.
2. That person was removed from training the very first day and put in the hospital and treated. We’ve heard she’s doing great.
3. That was seven days ago. So technically none of us has had contact with a positive person in seven days and no one here is showing elevated temp. or major symptoms.
4. So why do we have to do another full seven days, with ramped up security and even more isolation? (Never mind the poor folks who are under house arrest).

I can unerstand another couple of days for show and just to make absolutely sure, but seven full days in isolation in small, really hot rooms? Of course we as quarantine folks don’t have all the details, and the goal is to not get anyone sick, but when does something just get way out of hand?

I had deleted the post I put this story in, but now I think it is really relevant. I do not put this in to cause heresay or panic, but I think it has become important:

J. got his test results from the hospital by phone: the spots were left from a harmless fungal infection. (yeah!) He called the hospital to tell the nurse he couldn’t come in for his appointment, and she told him that the hospital had not been informed that we were here, or what had happened to us. She had noticed that a couple of the girls were sick in our group, but they had not been told by the school or by the government agency keeping us that it was a possible swine flu breakout.

If we are such a public threat that we have to be held for another seven days even after eight people testing negative, shouldn’t the hospital we spent an afternoon at with a very nice nurse who helped almost all of us be informed?

I bring these points up to start a dialog about consistency and how this is going to effect foreigners working in Korea in the future, not to complain or start rumors.

Update: I just saw this in the comments thread of RJKeohler’s Blog:

A friend of mine who works for EPIK got an email this afternoon saying:

“This is to let you know that ALL foreign teachers who enter the country after May 11, 2009 are required to do a home quarantine for 7 days before returning to school.

During the quarantine, you are required to stay home and wear a mask if leaving the house temporarily to run errands such as grocery shopping. At the end of the 7 day quarantine, you must visit a public health clinic for a final checkup.”

Another blog with interesting commentary.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Oh great! I’m glad that J is OK 🙂
However, the rest of the story is plain Kafka!

Comment by Milan

This is Kind of messed up….. I would like to know if there are any Koreans in quarantine.. … The Hagwan and Hotel staff from the Training …? And I don’t see how they could only quarantine new teachers and not any of the hundreds of other people who walk off of the plane…!

Comment by Trevor

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