South Koreans interviewed by the Global Times were divided over strict entry and quarantine measures taken by Chinese cities amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in countries like Japan and South Korea, as some said it's for the health of everyone while some consider it rather unfair.
Staff members disinfect a market in Daegu, South Korea, February 23, 2020.
Chinese cities like Beijing and Weihai in East China's Shandong Province ask travelers, regardless of their nationality, to stay quarantined for 14 days, amid rising fears of the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak in neighboring countries.
Some South Koreans have been calling such measures unfair as South Korea didn't take such compulsory measures on Chinese travelers, and some even criticized China for being ungrateful for its aid to China during the epidemic.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry on Friday called on China to help ensure South Koreans will not face any improper treatment or measures in China due to coronavirus fears, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
We understand that China is protecting its people, said Jung Jaeuk, an international student from East China Normal University of Shanghai, who now lives in Seosan, South Korea. We feel that China is unfriendly as South Korea didn't shut Chinese outside the country when the epidemic started to spread over borders.
Jung told the Global Times on Friday that South Korean universities have provided airport pick-up services for Chinese students studying in the country, and ensure their basic needs during quarantine in the dormitory.
Meanwhile, many South Koreans who stayed in China expressed support and understanding to the entry measures.
Shin Kwangjae, an international student at Shanghai University of Sport, told the Global Times that it is for everyone's safety.
To end the epidemic as soon as possible, we must cooperate with the measures of all governments, he said.
Chinese people and South Korean people have shown mutual support in combating the novel coronavirus.
Local governments, enterprises, civil society and individuals in South Korea have provided help to China since January to combat the outbreak.
The Chinese Embassy in South Korea on Thursday provided 25,000 masks to Daegu.
The mutual help between the two countries and our people underlines the friendship between us, Park Sangyun, chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Friday. I feel happy and gratified to see we are helping each other.
Park noted that he and most South Koreans living in Shanghai can understand such measures taken by Chinese cities. Recently, he has advised South Koreans who come to Shanghai to respect the control measures and requirements of the local government and stay home for quarantine. It is for their health, their families, friends, neighbors and Shanghai, he said.
At this moment, the two governments and people on both sides need to work together to tide through the difficult times, he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian stressed at Friday's press conference that relevant prevention and control rules in Beijing and other places apply to all travelers from or to severely-hit areas abroad, treating Chinese and foreign citizens equally.
People in South Korea are now leading indoor lives as the number of confirmed cases with COVID-19 in the nation have spiked to 2,337 as of Friday. Public facilities like libraries and training centers are closed to curb coronavirus infections.
To avoid cross infections, delivery companies are adopting a no-contact delivery method as their Chinese counterparts do by putting the package outside the doors of their clients.
The country is also faced with a mask shortage. Jung said that local people can buy masks at the designated places like postal offices and supermarkets. Each person is only allowed to buy five, Jung said, noting that such masks only cost 5 yuan ($0.71) each before the epidemic but now cost 15 yuan.
People can buy cheap masks through online shopping platforms, but they soon get sold out, Jessie, a Chinese student in South Korea, confirmed to the Global Times.