During my two weeks in South Korea, I’ve visited many attractions, hiking trails, markets, and restaurants. Everywhere I go, I’ve noticed that most people here are vigilant about wearing their masks when out in public. This is a change from back home in the states as most people have opted to not wear them as much. Of course, the lifting of covid restrictions is something we all look forward to, but with it comes the fear of an uptick in community transmission of cases. Seeing as I’ve not had covid this entire pandemic, I’ve just continued to do what I’ve always done, continue to wear a mask regardless of whether there are masking mandates in place or not. This has helped me stay covid free for almost three years so I figured it would work the same in Seoul.
My school, Yonsei University, has a covid protocol in place in case someone turns out to be positive. If students experience covid symptoms, they are required to self-isolate and get tested. If they are positive, they will be assigned to an isolation wing within their housing building. Students are also required to fill out an online exemption form which will excuse their absence from classes. Those who test positive, are expected to complete 7-days in quarantine. During those seven days, lectures and other class materials will be recorded and made available through an online portal. This way, students don’t fall behind just for contracting covid.
After almost two weeks in Seoul, I began to feel a bit under the weather. It started with a sore throat, then a slight cough, followed by a fever. At first, I didn’t think much of it since I had gone to karaoke the night before and I always wake up with a bit of a sore throat the following day. Whenever my allergies flare up, I end up with a slight cough because my throat gets a bit irritated. And since it’s been really hot every day, I didn’t notice the fever right away.
After a day of not feeling so great, I decided it would be best to get tested. The first at-home covid test turned out to be negative. Although it was a relief that it came out negative, it wasn’t much of a victory as I was still feeling sick. As my symptoms got worse, I decided to take a second test the following day. That too, turned out to be negative. But I wanted to be triple sure that the first two tests didn’t show a false negative, so I took a third test which came back negative as well. At this point, I was certain I didn’t have covid, but I still had to work towards getting better as I had obviously caught either a bad cold or some other similar bug.
I’ve been isolating for four days now and even though my illness is not covid, I still don’t want to accidental pass it on to someone else. However, I think this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it’s a perfect opportunity to get some much-needed rest.
Included is a picture from my dorm balcony.