South Korean island suing tourists who visited while having coronavirus symptoms
The pair have been identified as a mother, age 52, and her 19-year-old daughter, who had recently returned to her native South Korea from studying abroad in Boston.
The Seoul-based mother and daughter arrived on Jeju, which is a popular holiday destination for Koreans, on March 20 despite the fact that the daughter had been advised to self-quarantine upon her return to the country five days earlier, according to press release from the Jeju Provincial office.
The daughter began showing symptoms of coronavirus on March 21, the release said, but she and her mother remained on the island for four more days, having contact with an estimated 47 people at 20 locations.
Jeju Province has filed a civil suit against the pair at Jeju District Court seeking damages of 132 million won ($107,000 USD). 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.
“I hope to send a strong warning against actions that threaten the deadly struggle of the medical workers, the endeavor 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.
In the submitted complaint, Jeju province wrote that the daughter “had failed to uphold her duty as a member of the community.”
It also emphasized that the mother had “actively joined her daughter’s illegal activity, including providing funds for travel,” which is why she is also culpable.
As of April 5, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) reported 94 new cases in South Korea, bringing the total number of cases to 10,156. There have been 177 deaths since the outbreak, and 6,325 people have recovered.