A mother and daughter, who visited South Korea’s popular Jeju Island on holiday, could be sued after they failed to declare COVID-19 symptoms.
According to CNN, the 52-year-old mother and her 19-year-old daughter, who had recently returned to South Korea from Boston, decided to visit despite feeling unwell.
It is understood the daughter ignored self-isolation rules, and the pair travelled to the island five days after she returned to Seoul from the US.
According to the report, the 19-year-old started showing symptoms on March 21, but the duo decided to stay on the island for a further four days where it is estimated they had contact with almost 50 strangers.
“Jeju Province has filed a civil suit against the pair at Jeju District Court seeking damages of 132 million won ($A176,183),” Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong said in a statement to the publication.
“In addition to the municipal government, plaintiffs include two Jeju residents who have had to quarantine since interacting with the women and two businesses on the island that were forced to close.”
The Governor said they hoped the hefty fine would send a warning to others who think they can break isolation laws.
“I hope to send a strong warning against actions that threaten the deadly struggle of the medical workers, the endeavour of the disease prevention workers, and the participation of our people in their fight against coronavirus,” Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong said in a statement.
South Korea has been lauded for significantly reducing COVID-19 outbreaks after employing an aggressive strategy of testing more than 440,000 people for the virus, along with other mitigation measures.
Essentially, with their widespread testing program, South Korean authorities were able to identify infected people, isolate them and trace their contacts with other people, who then also could be tested. This has been done because they have several companies that produce chemical reagents used in virus testing.
According to Barrons, more than 10,000 Koreans have tested positive for coronavirus, with the first case reported around February 19, 2020. Almost 6,700 people have recovered and, as of April 6, there were roughly 3600 active cases.
“Testing is absolutely critical with a fast-travelling virus like this,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said to the World Economic Forum Covid Task Force.
“We have tested over 350,000 cases so far — some patients are tested many times before they are released, so we can say they are fully cured. Altogether, we’re talking about one out of 145 or one out of 150 people having been tested so far.”
In addition to testing, the country has developed protocols for separating, treating and managing respiratory illnesses.