South Koreans In Singapore Exercise Caution In Travel Plans

Having kept a close watch on news about the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) back home, South Koreans living in Singapore said they were concerned for their friends and family, but also expect the situation to improve as the government in Seoul appears to have stepped up containment efforts in recent days.

Nonetheless, some told TODAY they would exercise caution in their travel plans.

“I think it’s under control. I was reading the Korean newspaper yesterday about the President saying the government is taking action to control (the spread) within this week,” said Mr Will Jeong, director of Korean barbecue restaurant, Oh Neul Han Jeom.

The 45-year-old added that he had been planning on flying back to South Korea to visit his younger brother and friends, but had since postponed his trip until the next school holidays in September, or even later.

He said he was concerned for his family back home. “It’s bad for business too, as everyone stays at home. There are no gatherings outside now,” he added.

Mr Aum Kyoung Hwan, 45, said he has not cancelled plans to return to Seoul in two weeks with his wife and two teenage children. He added that they would wear masks and take the necessary precautionary measures while in the country, but pointed out that it appeared that “only the old or the very old, and the weak and not-so-healthy people have been affected”.

Meanwhile, Ms Kim Ji Yeon, owner of Chowon Garden Korean Restaurant, will not risk going back to her hometown just yet. With two children aged 10 months and three years, she said she was “scared because they are very young”.

“(MERS used to affect) older people. Now, pregnant women are also getting infected. I think it is wise to avoid crowded places and hospitals in cities (in South Korea),” the 35-year-old said.



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