Jeewoo Lee By: Jeewoo Lee
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05 May 2020 : The end of social distance, and the opening of the Professional Baseball game

South Korea, where I live, is close to China, the first outbreak of Covid-19. Thus, relatively quickly, the confirmed case of COVID-19 has been spread out. The COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease, and many confirmed cases have come out, but most of the people say South Korea has responded well in the early stages and is making a social-distant system well now. Fortunately, at a time when the world is facing a global crisis of COVID-19, South Korea is about to lift a social distancing project.

I am currently studying at a Korean campus of an American school, so I am in Korea now, but there are many friends who are studying abroad. Until March, my friends who were abroad asked and worried me how I was doing about COVID-19, but South Korea's quick response quickly reduced the number of confirmed cases. Finally, COVID-19 made panic across the sea, too. My friends were planning to return to Korea one by one, which they thought was relatively safe. In a situation that we had never experienced before, schools switched to online lectures one by one, or closed schools, and all my friends who were studying abroad came back to Korea.  According to them, the number of flights in operation has dropped significantly, making it difficult to get plane tickets, and some have said they would not have been able to come back if it weren't for South Korea's chartered planes. After returning, they quickly returned home without contact with others after meticulously drawing up a checklist at the airport's quarantine office and started a two-week self-quarantine. They should install a self-quarantine application on a mobile phone so that it became known immediately when the GPS outside the house were caught. Also, South Korea supported all the necessities they needed for two-week self-quarantine to eliminate all the reasons for having to go outside (e.g. toilet paper, bottled water, facial masks, foods, etc.) With such a meticulous quarantine system, South Korea prevented the spread of COVID-19 relatively quickly and neatly, and finally, no new confirmed cases existed as of May 5.

Today is a very meaningful day. This is because it is the opening day of Korean professional baseball (KBO). There were so many sports lovers all over the world, and they were bored without sports games that were stopped by COVID-19. I was one of those people, and I think it is a great thing that KBO will open today. In fact, since March, the Korean professional baseball team has played its own game three to four times a week for players' condition, and starting in April, KBO has been allowed to play practice games. Even during the game, they wear a mask or avoided contact ceremonies such as high-fives, trying to prevent confirmed cases. Especially, my favorite team, SK Wyverns, has made a lot of effort to open the game safely, with a method that unmarried players gathering and staying together (to reduce outside contact). Finally, today, May 5th, they will play the opening game. It is said that the opening will begin with zero crowds, but unless there is an excessive increase in the number of confirmed cases or sudden events, the percentage of the crowds in the stadium will increase in two weeks, opening up 25 percent of the stands and opening the stands over time. Currently, only Taiwan and South Korea are known to have started professional baseball games. With people around the world who is thirsty for baseball are showing interest in Korean professional baseball. It is said that foreigners will also watch Korean professional baseball after buying the broadcasting rights of the KBO. It is happy news coming from this chaotic situation.

In South Korea, schools are now set to open sequentially, and from tomorrow, we will end social distancing and enter to the quarantine in life. We can go to the gym and exercise and go to the movie theater and watch a movie. It is happiness that came early because we did a great self-quarantine. I hope other countries will regain stability as soon as possible and get out of this chaotic world.

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