Seoul, South Korea – Just think of two people.
Both live in South Korea. They all received their COVID-19 vaccine in July while on the other side – one in the United States, one in France.
They both lived on their own after returning to Korea, but the authorities agreed that only one person was fully vaccinated, which meant that when a person was allowed to go to high-risk places like clubs and bars, it was avoided. living alone in the future, the others found that their daily lives were severely restricted.
The first is a South Korean citizen and the other is a foreigner.
Laurane Batany, a French national who arrived in Korea recently and received a vaccine in her home country in July, said:
And his Korean counterpart agrees.
“I can’t find or understand a valid reason for treating foreigners differently from Koreans because of the exact same certification. It’s as if they think foreigners are lying. It’s a shame and a common denominator,” said Choi Il-woo, a Korean national who received the vaccine from US in July.
Vaccine awareness is important in South Korea where this month it re-introduced the epidemic ban under the so-called “COVID-19” guidelines.
The new rules include a COVID-19 license that allows for full immunizations in areas such as nightclubs, bars, gymnasiums, and gymnasiums. This is a permit – a program called COOV – that foreign foreigners receiving vaccinations outside of Korea are not allowed.
Korean officials have complained about the unreliability of the vaccine across the border and demanded that foreigners go to the Korean embassy in the country where they had been vaccinated to obtain a “quarantine waiver” before entering South Korea. This means that their vaccine can be registered in the COOV program.
“Since it is difficult to prove that a foreign vaccination certificate is valid, the foreign vaccination certificate is recognized by the Korean government unless the interest paid from diplomatic offices in Korea overseas is granted to a foreign national,” the statement said. Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency issued to journalists around the world.
South Korea also has a list of 16 countries, including Myanmar, South Africa and Chile, where no release is possible.
Distractions and difficulties
As the country slowly opens up and foreign travel shows signs of recurrence, countries are taking their own decisions sometimes to contradict each other, even though the WHO is advising governments to avoid discriminatory practices and to identify vaccines equally at the border.
Some countries have also set a limit on the number of vaccines they can accept, while others do not recognize those who received the Chinese vaccine Sinovac and Sinopharm or the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V.
“Some of the COVID-19 alternatives in South Korea right now are as crazy as those in North Korea,” said Chad O’Carroll, a journalist and founder of North Korea’s media watchdog NKnews.org, posted on Twitter.
Adding to the problem, some South Korean tourists do not even have to be evicted. Students are some of them.
“Well, because I’m here as a student, and when students arrive they have to be isolated, I wouldn’t be allowed to be isolated,” Batany told Al Jazeera.
Students simply say, “It is NOT appropriate to register as a solicitor”, as the Korean ambassador to Finland puts it in bright red letters on their page.
Failing to register in Korea and downloading the COOV program to prove he had two weapons, Batany was detained in other Korean locations.
“I tried to get into a bar club and a bar, and the person at the door told us we couldn’t get in with our guest’s vaccination proof, we had to get a COOV program. We couldn’t identify our vaccine,” he said.
The fact that these rules apply only to foreigners living in South Korea and not to citizens has offended many.
At a press conference last week, health officials tried to explain as much as possible that the ban was not xenophobic but effective.
“It is difficult to make assertions, some countries have a definite form, while other countries accept a variety of evidence from hospitals, hospitals, or local governments,” said Sohn Youngrea, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Human Services. “This is why we are requesting permits from our offices across the country.”
Not everyone agrees, however.
The guests chose
The British ambassador has criticized the Korean system.
“If proof of a Korean citizen receiving a foreign vaccine is sufficient for the vaccine to be registered for the vaccine, the same evidence must be sufficient to re-register a foreign vaccine for foreign nationals,” said Simon Smith, British ambassador. in South Korea, he said in a video uploaded to his ambassador’s Twitter account.
The vaccination campaign has also raised concerns about the discrimination against foreigners in another country, with about 3 percent of the population being Korean.
Earlier this month, it emerged that the small town of Gimhae had ordered all foreign children to be tested for coronavirus after cases relating to kindergarten schools escalated. Internet censorship prompted the city to revoke the order and apologize.
“Sorry for disturbing the parents of the foreign children,” the local government said in a statement, according to the South Korean newspaper Yonhap.
There is currently no law in South Korea that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or sexual orientation.
Legislation has been passed several times since 2007 but has failed to move forward due to political and religious opposition.
“This law is very clear and important, and it is based on the equal rights enshrined in Korean law,” said Lee Jong-geol, chief of the South Korea Coalition for Anti-Discrimination Legislation. “[The vaccination controversy] will help Korean people become more interested, understand why they need a law against discrimination. ”
As the British ambassador pointed out, the alienation on the COVID-19 vaccine is a factor affecting not only businesses and investors, but also the people who are most supportive of the Korean people.
But any change in the law would be delayed for Betany and other foreigners living in South Korea who received the vaccine elsewhere.
In the meantime, they have to follow rules that have never been with the jab – send a false PCR test that took place within the last 48 hours to get into a gym, club or other major venue.
Some are getting vaccinated again, but Betany is optimistic and the government will change its policies.
“I think we’ll wait,” he says with a laugh.
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