7 Open Letter to the South Korean Government – Taein Ka

Author: Taein Ka, Pima Community College

To: South Korea’s Government

Hello, my name is Taein Ka, a student from Korea to the United States to study. I have lived in Korea for 20 years and have lived in the United States for a year. The reason why I wrote this letter is that today, people are under a lot of stress due to COVID-19, and I am also under stress due to COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 infection vary from person to person.

Most infected people feel fever, cough, and fatigue, and some people have no symptoms. This can lead to side effects and death on the body if serious. That’s why you’ve made various rules to prevent this virus from spreading in Korea. For example, we have made various rules to prevent contact with people, such as wearing a mask, not being able to go out of the room for more than two weeks if you self-isolate, and not having more than five people in one space. However, through these rules, many people lost their jobs and suffered mental damage. Because more than five people can’t gather, it means that there can’t meet five people in one restaurant. Therefore, in the case of restaurants, there are not many people, so there are many people who cannot make money and close the store due to financial problems. According to one record, “The increase and decrease in sales of self-employed businesses due to COVID-19”2021/05/11, (https://www.yna.co.kr/view/GYH20210511000100044), Covid-19 damaged self-employed people by about 17 billion dollars, bringing a very serious problem to sellers. In addition, because of these rules, people’s mental damage increased due to increased deficiency and fear and anxiety about infectious diseases caused by reduced outdoor activities. According to a survey conducted by a university in Korea, “A society that is becoming more sensitive, a vicious circle of depression and stress”  2020/12/01 (https://www.dongascience.com/news.php?idx=41968), the percentage of people who experienced lethargy and decreased motivation rose from 8.5% to 28% after the COVID-19 epidemic, and more than tripled people had mental stress. In these results, there is also a great cause for self-isolation. Because self-quarantine requires two weeks at home or a self-quarantine facility by the government, and if you go outside, you will be punished legally with a large amount of money, so you should thoroughly manage your self-isolation. Because of these facilities, people are under a lot of mental stress because they have to rely solely on cell phones and TV. For example, my experience is that Korea’s rules change to the number of infected people from COVID-19, and if there are many people infected with COVID-19, more than two people will not be able to meet. I received these rules when I was in Korea. Due to these rules, it was really difficult for me to meet friends other than my family at home. In this way, I spent about three weeks, but my motivation for life disappeared, I felt great anger at small problems, and I felt very great mental problems such as not sleeping well. Also, my mom’s job was closed for about three months because of COVID-19, causing great financial problems and great stress for my family. Many people around the world say that Korea’s quarantine is good, but I don’t think so.

Through these results, I think it is good to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but I would like to deliver this letter by suggesting a new way. The United States does not think quarantine is very thorough like Korea, but it should wear a mask. However, the United States does not fall like Korea economically. The reason is that there are no strict rules like in Korea. Although the United States has more infections than Korea, I think there is no problem if it is good at quarantine on its own.

However, since it is a rule created by Korean emotional culture and governments, I would like to convey in this letter how people can get rid of mental problems. In Korea, COVID-19 tests are now conducted, and a way to test them yourself without going to the hospital has been created. Governments help citizens not only deliver this to suspected COVID-19 cases but also to all citizens so that they can test themselves once a week. This is because if this happens, confirmed patients can be found quickly and alternatives can be devised. If a confirmed case occurs in this way, they must be quarantined in a self-quarantine facility or home for two weeks. When I went to Korea from the United States, I had a very hard time in self-quarantine for two weeks. People can’t do anything in the room and have to spend two weeks, and I think they need to improve these facilities and self-quarantine. Therefore, I think it is better to create facilities where people can enjoy various entertainment or exercise in the facility and to prevent stress while self-isolating. Socially, more than five people still cannot gather in Korea. The reason is to prevent the spread. However, this method is a very bad rule for people who run stores in society. They sometimes lose their jobs without making money through these rules. That’s why I think it’s good to make transparent partitions in each restaurant and make these devices so that COVID-19 does not spread even when people meet. This is because COVID-19 is infected when there is saliva or contact, so this is a way for people to meet without contact.  Finally, many people lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and I hope the government will find jobs so that these people can continue to work and help them avoid mental damage due to financial problems at home. In this way, citizens are suffering a lot of mental damage, and through this letter, it is better not only to work on COVID-19 quarantine but also to think about the mental problems and various damages of citizens and to set rules.


From: Taein Ka


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