The Epidemic Is Escalating! South Korea’s No. 1 Shipbuilding City Becomes Empty City

In order to cut off the infection chain of the new crown pneumonia area, on December 20th, the mayor of Geoje, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea, issued a letter of appeal to all citizens, announcing to further strengthen the control of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, starting from 0:00 on the 21st. The city’s "maintain social distancing" epidemic prevention response was raised from level 2 to level 2.5. This city with a population of only 240,000 has almost completely shut down, and the 50,000 employees of shipbuilding companies and cooperative companies in the city have all their homes after get off work. The entire Geoje city has fallen into unprecedented silence at night.


Shipyard employees’ homes, Geoje City’s commerce shut down

According to Geoje City’s “Maintain Social Distance” Level 2 Response to Epidemic Prevention, entertainment facilities must be closed, KTVs must be closed after 9pm, and restaurants only allow guests to order takeaways or packs after 9pm. After entering the 2.5-level response stage of epidemic prevention, entertainment venues and KTV will prohibit people from gathering. Therefore, on December 21, the first day when Geoje’s epidemic prevention response was raised to level 2.5, KTVs, indoor performance venues, indoor sports facilities, bathrooms and other places in the city were all closed, and restaurants were only allowed to order guests after 9pm. Takeaway or pack. That night, there were already rare human presences in the urban area of Geoje.


Geoje City is a world-class shipbuilding city. South Korea’s second and third largest shipbuilding companies, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Samsung Heavy Industries, are located here. It is known as the “South Korea’s Shipbuilding Industry Base” and “South Korea’s First Shipbuilding City”. City". According to industry reports, currently in Geoje City, only Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje Shipyard and Daewoo Shipbuilding Yupu Shipyard and related partner companies have 50,000 employees, and the number of family members accounts for the total population of Geoje City. "Half of the country" has a decisive influence on the local commercial development. The Yupo and Changping areas where the employees and their families of the two shipyards live together are also known as the two prosperous commercial streets in Geoje City. The shipyard employees are usually crowded on the road from the beginning of the morning to work. Every year at the end of the year, departmental meetings, classmates, fellow villagers, and fellow clubs in the shipyard will hold farewell and welcome parties in restaurants and bars, and the streets in Geoje will remain noisy until late at night.


However, on the evening of December 21, the shipyard employees all went home after get off work, and the former prosperous commercial street was left in the cold.

An employee of Daewoo Shipbuilding said: “The company had a confirmed patient not long ago and had to interrupt production for 3 days and let 4,000 employees undergo nucleic acid testing. The company also repeatedly emphasized the importance of epidemic prevention. But no matter who said what It’s the atmosphere for us to go home immediately after get off work."


The employee said: "I have worked in a shipyard for more than 20 years, and this is the first time in such a quiet year-end."


In the evening, there were only city buses, taxis, and meal delivery motorcycles in the urban area of Geoje, and the traffic volume was greatly reduced.


Although in accordance with the provisions of the 2.5 level response of the epidemic prevention, extracurricular tuition classes can still be carried out until 9 pm. However, parents would not let their children go to cram schools for fear of contracting the new crown pneumonia, and these cram schools simply closed down.


As of the morning of December 22, the cumulative number of confirmed patients with new coronary pneumonia in Geoje City has reached 127. Among them, 80 people have been diagnosed since December, accounting for more than 60%. The remaining 47 people were diagnosed in the first and second waves of the epidemic before August 29.


Work was suspended for 3 days each, and the two major shipyards failed to avoid the third wave of epidemic



It is reported that since the third wave of regional epidemics occurred in Geoje City on December 4, the number of confirmed cases has increased dramatically. The two large shipyards that did not have confirmed cases in the first and second waves also failed to avoid the third wave. Up to now, 12 employees and their family members of the partner company of Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje Shipyard have been diagnosed, and 7 employees of Daewoo Shipbuilding Yupu Shipyard have been diagnosed. The two shipyards also suspended work for 3 days.


As the number of cluster infection cases in the region continues to increase, Geoje City has stepped up its efforts to detect new coronary pneumonia nucleic acid. Since December, the city’s daily nucleic acid tests have reached about 1,000 people, a 10-fold increase over the previous period. When Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje Shipyard, Daewoo Shipbuilding Yupu Shipyard and related partner companies showed confirmed patients, the number of nucleic acid tests in Geoje City increased sharply to 3,600 people per day.


The mayor of Geoje City, Bian Guangyong, said: “In terms of population ratio, the number of confirmed patients in Geoje City is increasing more severely than in Seoul and other metropolitan areas. We will increase the response to the epidemic from Level 2 to Level 2.5 as the last resort. Enlightenment, to end this crisis."


With the rebound of the new crown epidemic in South Korea and the surge in cluster infection cases, the South Korean Central Disaster Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced on November 1 that it will comprehensively adjust the grading standards and implementation plans of the "maintain social distancing" measures to build a more precise epidemic prevention system. The new version of the social distancing policy is further refined on the basis of the original 3 levels of epidemic prevention and control, adding 1.5 and 2.5 levels, and the standards for each level will be different in different regions. According to the new standard, level 1 is the "life prevention" stage, level 1.5 and 2 are divided into the "local epidemic" stage, and levels 2.5 and 3 are the "national epidemic" stage.