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Foreign English Teacher Writes About Quarantine Online

Posted June. 03, 2009 07:37,   


A foreign teacher of English in Korea has written about forced isolation of a group of foreign teachers in Seoul due to fears over the H1N1 flu virus.

Titled “An English Teacher Under Quarantine in South Korea (underquarantine.tumblr.com),” the blog features the accounts and photos of English instructors from Chung Dahm Institute who were isolated at a quarantine facility May 23-31.

Declining to identify him or herself, the teacher said the facility accommodated some 60 instructors, including foreigners who were confirmed to have been infected and those in contact with them. They showed no notable symptoms, but had to take Tamiflu and got their temperatures checked every day.

The teachers often complained in the first few days of isolation since they were banned from smoking, exercising and getting a suntan. One said, “I want to flee the building.”

As the number of confirmed infections increased, health authorities stepped up their surveillance. The blogger said, “We were forced into a boring life amid a flurry of surveillance measures, as we were banned from talking to each other and using mobile handsets.”

Staff at the quarantine facility, however, said they provided the best possible conveniences and that the instructors adapted well to isolation.

“They had no need for money. Whatever foods they choose, they were delivered to the facility. They were allowed to watch movies or play video games, exercise and go sun tanning, which had been initially banned,” one staff member said.

The blogger said, “Most of the instructors in isolation had a cheerful and positive time, but others were discontent or isolated themselves in their rooms.”

Posts on the blog suggest the teachers liked the food eaten in isolation, including hamburgers, pork cutlet and fried rice. The blogger said, “I sincerely thank Korean taxpayers for serving us delicious food.”

“I hope that fear over the H1N1 flu virus will not lead to xenophobia in Korea,” he said. “People need to dispel groundless prejudice that the disease is transmitted by foreigners.”

In a post uploaded on the last day of isolation, the blogger wrote, “I thank Korean medical professionals. They made our embarrassing situation a cheerful experience.”