Ananya – Week Six

Last week Ananya told us about the new habits she picked up during the lockdown. This week she is startin to feel a bit overwhelmed and she worries about the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases. If you want to know more about Ananya, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button to listen to what Ananya thinks of the ease of the restrictions.

The last week Ananya has been reading most of the day.

Current situation in India 01-06-2020

Over the last few weeks, the number of cases has been increasing rapidly in India. This is a trend that continued this week as well. There have been 45.874 new cases of COVID-19 and 1.235 deaths since last week. India is now the seventh most effected country in the world.

There has been in lockdown since March 24, and there is now a lockdown 5.0 in thirteen Indian cities. Seventy percent of the total corona cases have been recorded in these cities. In other cities there will be what is called ‘unlcock 1.0’, which means more relaxation of the measures.

From the 8th of June places of worship, malls and restaurants can reopen as long as they are not located in containment zones. Bars, cinema’s, and gyms have to stay closed and there are still no international flights.

At the start of this project there were 26.496 cases of COVID-19. Initially it rose quite slowly in India, but over the last few weeks it has quickly increased. The current number of corona cases is now 191.460.

Since the ease of measures there has been a system of green, orange, and red zones. This will no longer be in use, except for the containment zones. However, states can identify buffer zones and impose restrictions. In July the government will make a decision about reopening schools and other education institutions.

No food and water on shramik trains
Last week the government promised to make sure migrant workers would reach their home in the next ten days by shramik trains. However, the government still didn’t manage to take care of these people, who for weeks now have been trying to reach their homes. This week a video went viral of a toddler trying to wake up her dead mother, who died just after she got off a shramik train.

The journeys these workers take can last multiple days by train, and most of them have been on the go for more than two months with little to eat. Authorities fail to provide adequate water and food for the passengers. People are unable to buy anything themselves because the shops at the stations are all closed.

Causes of death for migrant labourers
Till the 1st of June 46 people have died from exhaustion, and 132 from starvation and financial distress. Another 209 migrant workers have died in road accidents. So far more than eighty people have died on a shramik train.

On the 26th of April 825 people had died because of corona, on the 1st of June this number has risen to 5.410.

Supreme Court: free transport and food for migrant workers
On May 26 the Supreme Court said there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” in dealing with the migrant workers crisis by the Central and State government. The Supreme Court has ordered both the central government and the states to provide immediate free transport, food and shelter for stranded migrant workers.

Jyoti cycled 1200 km to her home
Another video making headlines this week is of a girl who cycled 1.200 kilometers from Delhi to Bihar, while also carrying her injured dad on the back of the bicycle. Jyoti Kumari is fifteen years old and she cycled for a week. Watch this video if you would like to know how their journey went.

You can watch this video if you would like to know how a shramik train looks like.

If you would like to know more about migrant workers, you can take a look at this photo essay. If you are interested in women migrant labourers, read this article.

Are you having troubles to stay focused when you’re reading? Take a look at these tips.

Last week domestic flights were resumed again. Watch this video if you want to know what it’s like to board a plane in India.

Schools are a critical part in providing sanitary pads to girls. But now that schools have been closed for more than two months problems arise. Not everyone has money to buy pads. Read this article for more information.

Want to know what the latest data is showing about COVID-19 in India? Read this article.

A year ago Narendra Modi got voted as prime minister again. Curious how the government ‘Modi 2.0’ is doing? Look at these fourteen defining photo’s with explanation.

Ananya talks about a locust attack in Rajasthan. Read this article for more information.

Previous stories on India:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Kranti – Week Six

Last week Kranti told us how she and her roommates have been organizing movie nights during the lockdown. This week she talks about how she thinks the next few months will be. If you want to know more about Kranti, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button and find out if things will change in the near future for Kranti.

Kranti and her roomate are reading on their terrace.

Current situation in Belgium 31-05-2020

The number of COVID-19 cases had been increasing slowly for the last few weeks. The situation seems to be more under control. This week there have been 1289 new cases and 196 COVID-19 related deaths. Belgium has a phased approach to ease the restrictions.

Since May 25 there has been more relaxations. Some students can get part-time one on one arts and music courses from academies again. This will only be allowed for students for whom it is crucial important to get classes, for example because they have to take a crucial exam in the near future. And for the first time in ten weeks prisoners are now allowed to have one visitor per week.  

At the start of this project there were 45.325 cases of COVID-19 in Belgium, a month later there are 58.381 active cases.

More relaxation on visits
People will be able to visit patients in hospitals again from the 2nd of June. Hospitals have to decide themselves how they will do this in a safe way. Likely conditions will include a maximum number of visitors per patient.

It is also allowed to visit family members in neighboring countries, however France decided to keep its borders with Belgium closed.

Illegal gatherings by prince and MP
Belgium Prince Joachim, nephew of King Philippe, was caught at an illegal party in Spain which was attended by 27 people. Despite border regulations he was able to fly to Madrid and enter the country. Joachim should have stayed in quarantine for two weeks, but instead he took a train to Andalusia. To make matters worse, he tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday the 30th of May. After his diagnosis, Joachim apologized for not having respected all quarantine measures.

Earlies this week Federal Member of Parliament Dries van Langehove was also caught at an illegal lockdown party. Van Langehove is from a right-wing populist political party called Vlaams Belang. After noise complaints the police checked a building in Ghent an they found about ten people. This is illegal in Belgium because of the corona measures. Van Langehove said he realized it was a mistake to attend the party and he payed the fine of 250 euros. Van Langehove also mentioned he did not appreciate the way journalists handled this news, and that they should have contacted him sooner.

Increase in fraud and sextortion
According to the Economic Affairs Department of Belgium, there has been an increase in the numer of fraud that is reported. The Department received twice as many reports in April than usual. This year there are 154 reports a day, last year during the same month this was 43 per day. Striking is the sharp increase in sexual extortion, in April 1.300 people reported that they were threatened by someone who claimed to share their nude images.

These people received fake emails that their computer was hacked, and that they have been spied on with their webcam when they supposedly visited porn websites. The Economic Affairs Minister told newspaper De Zondag: “Although the link with the lockdown has not been established, it goes without saying that the perpetrators of such scams are relying on an increase in the consumption of pornographic content during this period”.

More than a month ago the number of deaths caused by corona in Belgium was 6.917, in the last few weeks this has risen till 9.476.

This year may be the sunniest spring recorded in history in Belgium. Read this article for more information.

Curious how busy it got since the ease of restrictions? Take a look at this live cam of the market square in Bruges.

A Flemish school decided to start teaching outside in their garden by using tents. According to the school it is a good way to maintain social distancing. Watch this video and see how it is to go to school in a garden.

The University Hospital of Antwerp started using robots to screen patients. Curious how it works? Take a look at this video.

Previous stories on Belgium:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Yve – Week Six

Last week Yve talked about how excited she has been to take care of her plants, and that she is not looking forward to commute back to school when she has to teach in the classroom again. This week she tells how she feels about having to stay at home for such a long time. If you want to know more about Yve, click here to read her bio.

This week Yve also kept a photo diary. Click here to take a look.

Press the play button to find out how Yve has been able to help her dad with his flower farm.

Current situation in Australia 29-05-2020

The virus still seems to be under control in Australia. During the last week there have been 78 new cases and 2 deaths. One the people who passed away was a thirty-year-old man from Queensland. He is the youngest person to have died because of COVID-19 in Australia. He already had health issues, but it is not yet known how he got infected, since he had not left his hometown since February.

There have been seven deaths in Queensland related to corona. Because it is unsure how the 30-year-old man got infected, experts advise to do mass testing to get more information on how the virus is spreading in this area.

Since the start of this project on the 29th of April, there have been fourteen deaths. Take a look at the graph below to see how the death number has slowly risen over the last month.

Students asked to leave university
A group of 24 students have been asked to leave Trinity College, a residential college from Melbourne University, after they did not comply with the physical-distance rules. Student who stayed at this college were not able to leave between March 25 and May 13, unless there was a medical necessity.

Since Victoria relaxed its measures, more students were accepted to come back to Trinity College. During an unauthorized gathering some students did not follow the new rules to prevent the spread of the virus. They were asked to leave and they can come back for the second semester.

Keep working from home
The premier of Victoria urged people who have been working from home to keep doing this till at least July. By doing so, the local government hopes to keep office workers from using public transport.

On the 1st of June there will be more relaxation of the measures in Victoria, restaurants, cafes, museums and galleries all can reopen. People will also be allowed to gather in groups of twenty inside their house or outside. Zoos, pools and cinemas are expected to reopen later in June.

Public transport in Adelaide
Commuters in Adelaide complained about packed trains on social media. That’s why the South Australian Government decided to remove 670 seats from the trains in Adelaide. By doing so social distancing will be easier for passengers. Bus drivers will also be protected by a Perspex screen.

Cedar Meats in full operations again
After more than a hundred cases of COVID-19 traced back to Cedar Meats, the factory is now in full operations again.

On the 29th of April there were 6.746 cases of COVID-19 in Australia. Now, a month later, there are 7.173 cases.

Want to know how many people got tested in Australia, and how the country tries to keep the virus in control? This article gives a ‘snapshot of Australia’s coronavirus fight’. 

Six crewmembers of the Al Kuwait livestock carrier ship are infected with COVID-19. A dozen of people are now staying in quarantine in hotels in Perth. You can read this article for more information

Have you been keeping track on the latest news in Australia? Find out how much you know by doing this news quiz.

There have also been concerns over two rare cases. Two patients that recently tested positive for COVID-19, are more likely to have gotten infected months ago. For more information you can read this.

Can you imagine being in lockdown with seventy spiders in your house? Watch this video to find out how this happened.

Do you like working for home? Read this article for tips on how to convince your boss to let you work from your home office.

Previous stories on Australia:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Isha – Week Five

Last week Isha felt that things were going back to normal. This week she tells us what she has been missing, and if things are still getting back to normal. If you want to know more about Isha, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button and find out what Isha has been missing a lot.

Current situation in South Korea 29-05-2020

Things were calming down after the initial scare of the Itaewon cluster outbreak. The number of COVID-19 cases increased with 131 last week, which was less high than the week before.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse again. After a new outbreak, the number of cases increased with 280 in the last eight days. On Thursday the 28th there were 79 new cases reported in 24 hours. That is the highest increase in a single day since the 5th of April. On Friday the 29th 58 new cases were reported.

On the 6th of May South Korea relaxed its measures into what they called ‘routine distancing’.  But on Thursday the 28th of June, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced that the ‘strict social distancing’ will be reinstated in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi province till June 14. This was decided because of the rise in infections. The government hopes that by doing this, they will manage to control the spread of infections, while keeping the schools open.

This means that museums, parks, nightclubs, religious places, theaters and all other communal facilities will be closed for the next two weeks in Seoul, Gyeonggi province and Incheon.

A month ago there were 10.765 cases of COVID-19 in South Korea. A month later this has slowly increased to 11.402 cases.

There has been a slight bigger rise in COVID-19 infections in the last week.

Outbreak in logistic center
The new outbreak happened in an e-commerce logistics center in Bucheon. This city is in the Gyeonggi province, which is close to Seoul. On Monday the 25th of June, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in this distribution center. Because the patient had not come to work since the 20th of June, the company decided to stay open. However, by Thursday the 28th, there were 82 linked cases. A day later this had risen to 102 cases that are linked to the distribution center.

So far 3.445 people with links to the logistics center have been tested. In total 4.351 people with ties will get tested. There is also an infected employee at a second location of the logistic center. Both centers are now closed and employees and relatives have to stay in quarantine for two weeks.

There has also been a small outbreak of seven cases in a call center in Seoul.

Young people
Most of the new infections are from local transmissions, and most of these people are young. According to the deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the majority of these new patients do not have severe symptoms.

The reason why so many young people got the virus can be because of the outbreak in a nightclub in Itaewon. So far 266 cases are traced back to this outbreak.

Some schools did not reopen
The reopening of schools is going in phases, about half of the children have been going back to school by now. Almost three percent of the schools that would reopen this week decided to remain closed due to the recent spike in infections. However, the government does not want schools to close again, because the academic calendar has already been disrupted a lot.

The mayor of Bucheon said that schools will have to close again in his city, except for high school seniors.

The number of deaths has barely increased. On the 30th of April 247 people had died because of corona, a month later this has risen to 269.

Single use plastics
Because of the pandemic people have been using more single use plastics. Think of masks, gloves, but also take away containers. Some activist are worried that this will become the new normal. A 26-year-old student at Hanyang University tells the Korea Herald: “Every item that I ordered came in plastic containers, and I was taking out the trash at least twice as much as usual before the outbreak”.

In May 2019 there was a ban of using plastic cups for in-store customers. But because of the corona crisis the government temporary relaxed the ban on disposable packaging. Now in-store customers can also use plastic or paper cups.

According to the head of Resource Recycle Consulting the amount of trash from households has increased, but waste by the industrial sector, such as restaurants and factories, has dropped. Want to know more? Read this article

In the need for something more positive after this news? Take a look at these pictures of spring blooms in the province Jeju.

Curious how South Koreans can beat the summer heat while wearing a facemask? Read this for more information.

In the city Daejon a café is using a robot barista which can make sixty different types of coffee. Watch this video to see how it works 

Previous stories on South Korea:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Ananya – Week Five

Last week Ananya decided to do things differently because she was feeling gloomy. This week she tells us about good and bad habits she had picked up during the lockdown. If you want to know more about Ananya, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button to find out which video game Ananya started playing.

Current situation in India 26-05-2020

Last week the number of cases kept increasing rapidly in India. Eventually, there were more COVID-19 cases in India than in China. Modi announced that the lockdown could not be ended, so India is now in lockdown 4.0 till May 31. but the intensity of the lockdown differs per zone.

There is still no decrease in the numbers this passed week. In the last eight days the number of cases increased with 48.752, and 1.145 more deaths. On Monday the 25th of May India became the 10th country with the highest number of cases worldwide.

The number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing rapidly in India during the last three weeks.

Exams for students
Students from the tenth and the twelfth class of secondary school will have their Central Board Exam between the 1st of July till July 15. There are 15.000 centers in the country where students will take their exams. Normally there are only 3.000 centers. By expanding the locations social distancing can be ensured and traveling to the centers can be minimalized. There can be no centers in contaminated areas. Students and teachers will have to wear facemasks during the exams.

The Central Board Exams are necessary for admission to higher education institutions.

University exams
Different states in India have announced the dates for universities to hold their exams. In Madhya Pradesh they will take place between June 29 till the 31st of July . In Uttarakhand they will start on the 1st of July till the end of the month.

Concerns over online exams
Taking exams online are seen as one of the solutions during the lockdown. However, this resulted in some protest because there are worries over connectivity and cheating. With the hashtag #DUAgainstOnlineExams students from the Delhi University object the idea of online exams. According to the Teachers Association from this same university, online exams discriminate students who do not have access to all of the necessary technology.

The Delhi University is arranging an open book examination for the final semester of their undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. The idea is that students download a question paper, write their answers on plain paper, scan this and upload it online. This has to be done in a certain amount of time.

Migrant workers
Migrant workers have been struggling a lot during the lockdown. They were unable to reach home. Eventually special shramik trains were announced, but the problems are still not solved. In Mumbai the word of a train to Bihar got out, this led to huge crowds. There were only 1.700 seats on the train, but more than 2.000 people wanted to take the train. The police decided to use lathi-charge (hitting people with a wooden stick) to break up the crowd.

Shramik trains
Migrant workers have to register with authorities before they can get assigned to a train seat. For some workers it is impossible to do this because they don’t have a phone to receive the call when they got a seat.

On Saturday the 23rd of May the Railway Board chairman announced that in the next ten days 3.6 million migrants would be able to travel home on a shramik train.

Lack of contraception will lead to unsafe abortions
Because of the lockdown the access to contraception has been limited. The Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India thinks this will lead to millions of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths. If you would like to know more about this topic, read this article.

In her voice memo Ananya talks about the pressure on students do to well. According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau there were 2.625 suicides related to ‘failure in examination’ in 2018. Read this article, or this one, if you want to know more about why exams during the Indian lockdown should be postponed.

Want to know more about how teaching will change because of corona in India? Check out this article.

Watch this video if you want to know more about the issues migrant workers are facing.

Thousands of kilos of grapes got saved because of the help from online communities. This article explains how farmers can be helped, while also getting a better price for their produce.

Domestic flights have resumed which led to chaos at airports. Take a look at this video to see how they prepared for reopening, and read this to find out what caused all the chaos.

In an opinion article Sruthisagar Yamunan writes about how the Delhi police is using the lockdown to arrest anti-CAA activist. For more information read this

Previous stories on India:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Kranti – Week Five

Last week Kranti was less worried about the situation in Belgium, but she started worrying more about India, her native country. This week she will tell us what new habits she developed during the lockdown. If you want to know more about Kranti, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button to find out what Kranti and her roommates have decided to do in their free time.

Current situation in Belgium 24-05-2020

Last week the pressure on the hospitals was decreasing, and there were 1831 new cases in one week. Even though the number of patients at a hospital or ICU is decreasing, April turned out to be the deadliest month in Belgium since the second world war.

On Friday May 22 the National Public Health Institute announced that between the 16th of March and 3rd of May there were 51 percent more deaths than usual. According to an informal survey done by newspaper De Standaard, almost one in four COVID-19 patients at ICE died.

During the last week there were 2062 new cases of COVID-19 and 260 deaths. On Monday the 18th of May the second phase of the exit strategy started. Children have gradually gone back to school and places such as libraries, hair salons and zoos reopened.

There is still a increase of COVID-19 infections and deahts, but it is increasing less than before.

Second phase
Shops have already been open since May 11, but from May 18 people can also:
– Get a haircut
– Go to the zoo, or an open-air market, or a museum
– Do sports activities in the open air

Returning to school will happen in phases. This week children from primary school in the first, second and last (sixth) grade could go back to class. Schools also reopened for the sixth and seventh grade of secondary schools.

On the 25th of May there will again be more relaxation of the restrictions.

Schools reopened for some students
For some children schools reopened this week, but there are some measures that have to be followed. Students and teachers need to keep enough distance from others, children older than 12 and teachers must wear a facemask, and there is more attention for hygiene. It can be hard for young children to keep distance, but a Flemish school came up with a solution for this problem. Children from the first and second grade each got a hula hoop to carry with them. The principal of the school told the Brussels Times: “It is a bubble for the children that they have with them all the time, to keep the distance”.

Universities will continue online lectures
Universities still teach online, and this will not change that much during the next academic year. Big auditoria that normally can host five hundred people, could only be used by one hundred students because of the corona measures. That is why universities decided to continue online classes next year as well. There will be a limited amount per student of lectures that they can attend physically.

Women still do more housework
According to a survey carried out by the Free University of Brussels women still do more household chores than men. The lockdown has reinforced the inequalities between the two genders in Belgium. The research found that women daily spend thirty minutes more on chores and childcare than men. Men also have an hour more free time than women per day. Because of the lockdown both men and women have, on average, one hour more free time than usual.

More plastic waste
The month of May was less ‘plastic-free’ than it could have been in Belgium. This was the result of people buying more produce like fruits and vegetables that are sold in plastic. Because of corona, people don’t want to take the risk of buying, for example, apples that may have been touched by others. According to a vaccologist this shouldn’t worry people, because there is a very small chance to get infected because of this.  

More demand for bikes
Not only the demand for products in single use plastic has been increasing, but
also the sale of bicycles. During the lockdown bike shops had to close, now that they are open again some are struggling with the high demand. Filip Rylant from the federation of bike dealers says: “People want to cut down on public transport to get to work and are opting for the bike.  Many people are now also looking forward to a biking holiday”.

The Brussels Time again listed some good news that happened in Belgium from the last week. Want to know what happed when cows escaped? Read the article.

In the Flemish town Dendermonde there is a special celebration once every ten years called Ros Beiaardommegang. Because of the pandemic it could not be celebrated in the original way. If you are curious how they did celebrate it, you can watch this video.

In the centre of a Flemish town someone spotted an eagle owl nest in a window box. That is quite unusual in this area. Curious what it looks like? Click here to take a look at the baby owls.

Previous stories on Belgium:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Yve – Week Five

Last week there was an ease of restrictions in the state Yve lives. However, Yve mentiones that she tries to be ‘one of the better behaving people’. This week she tells us about how she has been ‘iso dating’ with a guy. If you want to know more about Yve, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button to find out how Yve managed to go on dates during the lockdown.

Current situation in Australia 22-05-2020

Australia still seems to be in control of COVID-19. In the last week there has been an increase of 106 new cases and 3 deaths. Australia has a three-step plan to ease the restrictions. States and territories can decide when to take the next step. There have been some concerns over infections and McDonalds and international students. You can read last week’s article for more information.

Last week two employees of two McDonalds restaurants got infected with COVID-19. Twelve infections were linked to this case. Colleagues who possibly came in contact with the infected employees are now stuck at home. They need to self-isolate for two weeks while being on unpaid leave. Twelve McDonalds chains closed their doors in Melbourne.

There has been a slight increase in the number of cases. Three people died because of the virus.

International students
A lot of internationals students in Australia have lost their part time jobs because of the lockdown. They do not qualify for financial benefits because they are not a citizen or resident of Australia. Australia has more than 500.000 international students. Almost half of the annual student’s revenue comes from this group, because they have to pay the full fee. Some of these students now have to get help from homeless services to get by.

The government of New South Wales announced they will fund temporary crisis accommodation for foreign students. According to the ABC, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that ‘foreign students should be supporting themselves first and foremost’. The government advises foreign students to fly home. But these students are not always able to reach their native country.

Trade dispute with China
There has been a trade dispute about barley between China and Australia. Listen to Yve explaining why she thinks this has happened.

China is Australia’s biggest export market for barley, which is used for feeding livestock an making beer. It is likely that the new tariff of eighty percent will stop the export of barley to China. This would cost the grain industry of Australia 500 million Australian dollars per year.

The strong advocacy of Australia to investigate how corona originated and was handled by China, has nothing to do with the new tariff says China. According to them it has to do with the dumping of Australian barley into their market and government subsidies. The Australian government denies this.

COVID-Safe app
Yve has talked about her concerns of the COVIDSafe app in week two. Read and listen this for more information. More than five million people downloaded the app, which tracks down who patients have met and possibly infected. So far there has been one successful use of the app. In Victoria someone tested positive. The app showed one person this patient had met that was not already listed. Because of the data on the app, contact tracers where able to find this person for testing.

Read this article if you want to know more about the barley trade dispute.

The pandemic causes more women to lose their jobs than men. Want to know why? Read this article for more information.

Yve explains how she has been ‘iso dating’. But how do you do the opposite? Read this article for tips on how to break up with someone during a lockdown.

People have demonstrated in Melbourne against the lockdown. Watch this video to know why and what has happened.

Previous stories on Australia:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Isha – Week Four

Last week Isha had a worrisome week after a cluster outbreak of COVID-19 in an expat area. However, she feels that things are going back to normal again. At her office things are also changing. If you want to know more about Isha, click here to read her bio.

Press the play button to find out some of the changes in her workplace, and how she thinks the government is handling the situation.

Current situation in South Korea 21-05-2020

The total number of COVID-19 cases has increased with 131 new cases in the last week. Four people have died because of the virus. Most of the new cases are connected to the clubgoer in Itaewon. In early May South Koreans were going back to what was called ‘everyday quarantine life’.  But the Itaewon outbreak led to fears for a second wave. If you want to know more about this, you can read last week’s article.

On Sunday May 17, experts of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said that they do not think it is likely that the Itaewon outbreak will lead to a next big wave. At that time 168 cases were linked to the Itaewon case in two weeks’ time. On Thursday the 21st the total number of related cases was 206. More than 60.000 people have been tested because of this outbreak. Jung Eun-kyeong, director of KCDC, said: “While the Itaewon outbreak is not projected to become as explosive as a peak witnessed in February, the situation is still far from reassuring”.

There has been a slight increase in cases of 131 in South Korea during the last week.

New outbreak in hospital
After the initial scare about the Itaewon outbreak, there was a second scare. Four nurses at Samsung Medical Center, a large hospital, got infected. Two of them did not show any symptoms. Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon said they needed to respond carefully and sensitively, because there is a possibility of more patients. A total of 1418 people who had been in contact with the nurses got tested. So far none of these people seem to have corona.

Since Sunday the 17th of May there were about fifteen new cases per day. This spiked to more than thirty cases on Wednesday May 20. This is the highest increase of new cases in nine days.

Reopening of schools
In the midst of this high spike some schools reopened for the first time in 79 days. The reopening will go in phases, which will be fully completed by the 8th of June. On the 20th of May senior high school students could go back to the classroom. The reason that this group could go first, is because of the country college entrance exam, which has been postponed till the 3rd of December.

Not everyone thinks the reopening of schools is a good idea. A petition to postpone the reopening got more than 230.000 signatures. However, there are measures to reduce the risk of infections. The sizes of classes are reduced, there will still be some online classes, children are checked for symptoms, such as fever, twice a day, it is mandatory to wear a facemask, and there are plastic dividers in the cafeteria.

Two students tested positive
The first day of the high schools reopening went quite smoothly. But in Incheon 66 students had to go home after two of their classmates tested positive. These two infected students are probably related to the Itaewon case. Students are advised to stay away from places where there is a high risk of infection.

Curious what the schools look like with the new measures? Take a look at these photos from the first day of the reopening.

Most people in Seoul think that the pandemic will not end this year. Look at this graph to see when residents think the corona crisis will end.

A soccer team in South Korea decided to use seat fillers because people can’t support their teams. Want to know what they used as seat fillers? Read this article to find out.

Previous stories on South Korea:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3