Am feeling a little sad….!
My blog numbers have dropped soooo much! Then again, I guess I only have myself to blame, what with the terribly inconsistent and infrequent postings.
Or is it because of MERS? I mean, I know many people pop over here coz they’re looking for info relating to all things Korean, has interest dropped coz of MERS?
Hmmm… By the way, if you think MERS is still mostly six hours away, think again!
I agree that it’s JUST A MATTER OF TIME before the first case hits us. And I’m also rather reassured by what PM Lee has said about how SINGAPORE IS READY TO MANAGE THE SITUATION should the virus really hit us.
Many of us still remember the SARS experience over a decade ago.
It hit us during the period between Nov 2002 and Jul 2003. A total of 8,096 cases were reported globally, out of which 238 cases were in Singapore. As for the number of lives claimed, SARS killed 774 people worldwide, including China (349 deaths), Hong Kong (299 deaths), Canada (43 deaths), Taiwan (37 deaths) and Singapore (33 deaths).
Other than the tragic loss of lives, I can recall how businesses suffered very badly too. Our part of the world experienced SARS and we know the damage it brought. And that ordeal also taught us better on how to prepare the ground and everyone else how to manage when something like that strikes.
More importantly, we’ve learnt how to take these things lightly. It can cost lives and of course, livelihoods too.
But not Korea.
I guess not having experienced SARS firsthand, they failed to appreciate the severity of things, and most reports and accounts seem to indicate that the government bodies themselves were not prepared. And the general public? I guess it’s mostly a case of ‘Ya, I know it’s serious, but no, it won’t happen to me.’
So in the beginning, people were not careful enough and there were even talks of how people wearing masks were mocked by others. And foreigners (especially the Chinese, HongKongers and and Taiwanese who remember the pain of SARS) who were visibly A LOT more concerned than the Koreans were even chided and told to go home.
Koreans suspected of being infected were quarantined, but they did not take it seriously, and went out and roam around, coming into contact with many, many people. Utterly irresponsible, yea, I know.
But I guess they really had no idea. That, and OLD HABITS DIE HARD.
Understand that THINGS ARE SORTA GETTING BETTER NOW, as the number of new cases and deaths keeps going up and with more public education, the Koreans are taking things more seriously now. I believe the number of MERS cases stands at 166 and the death toll is at 24 in Korea.
If you’re still here reading this, then you must know that the majority (75%!) of South Korea’s tourists is from surrounding Asian countries, particularly China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, yea, the countries scarred by Sars previously. So you can imagine how they must have stayed away and how Korea’s feeling the pinch from the loss in tourism dollars.
The Korean government has put aside 72 billion won (US$64 million dollars) to give to 17 different ‘touristy’ areas in Korea as soft loans with a low interest rate. It will also spent up to 1 billion won (US$895,000 dollars) in advertising.
PRETTY GRAND PLANS, I’d say. Effective or not?
Beats me. *SHRUGS*
It gets ‘better‘.
In order to ease the minds of tourists who are willing to brave a trip to Korea this summer, the Korean government has also said they will pay for all the medical and even vacation expenses IF you catch MERS during your visit. AND, they will also give you another US$3,000 as compensation. In the unfortunate event of death from contracting MERS during the trip to Korea, the victim’s family will also be compensated up to 100 million won, or approximately US$90,000 dollars.
Yea, me too wonder if this will work.
Kindda doubt it… I mean, if I’m scary-cat about it, I really wouldn’t change my mind and go just because I know that I get my money back, including the medical fees, if I contract MERS. Or just because I know that my family will get some money if I die from MERS. Right??
OK, if you still don’t know much about what MERS is, despite the media bombarding us about it for weeks now, perhaps it’s time you sit up and pay some attention. Coz THAILAND HAS ALREADY GOTTEN ITS FIRST MERS CASE.
With such inter-connectivity and with Singaporeans travelling so much, it’s hard to believe MERS wouldn’t hit us. So, it’s best to at least try to learn what MERS is all about and see how to stay safe and stay healthy. After all, prevention is better than cure, they say.
VOX is currently one of my fave news sites. While they don’t do breaking news and all, what they do is they try to explain the news. I like the layout of the site, the navigation, the flow and even it’s entire look and feel. And I like even more that they try to break big or important news and hot trending topics into plain language. The clarity is fab.
Check out how VOX EXPLAINED MERS VIRUS.
And oh, I also like this piece by VULCAN POST, super clear about the key things you need to know about MERS.
So now, shoo, go read!