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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

South Korea has been held up as a model by some commentators for its containment of coronavirus. It's far from perfect, but a rapid supply of resources shows that the capitalists do have the money - if the state intervenes. An English teacher in Ulsan spoke to the Socialist.
photo (public domain)

photo (public domain)   (Click to enlarge)

Korea has been pretty good. Local councils are giving money to low earners to help with rent. Anyone who needs to get the test and potential treatment receives it free. And if you have to self-quarantine I think the government sends out a care package, food and so on.

All teachers in the public school system - Korean and foreign - are off work until 23 March, but are receiving full pay. They are being required to do lesson planning, and perhaps some other work from home, to varying levels.

Private is a little more complicated. I can tell you that I, at least, am only working afternoons right now, on full pay. No kids at the school, but we are doing phone lessons. Various friends in other private schools are at home till the 23rd - with no work, or doing a small number of video lessons - on 50% pay. I can't tell you about other sectors.

The government has imposed a ban or something so that mask sellers (pharmacies and so on) cannot mark up the prices due to shortage. In fact, there is now an organised rationing system for them.

The tracking and containment procedures are quite meticulous. A little too much maybe. We get constant government messages on our phones tracking where patients have been, in case we've been in the same place at the same time.

I've got them all on my phone. I have the sound turned off, but it makes a siren noise and you have to click into it, you can't just ignore it. I mean, it helps people to know if they were near an infected person I guess, but this is fuelling panic a bit.

Supposedly that system has exposed at least one affair. If private information has been dragged out because you caught a virus... whoops.

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The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

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In The Socialist 11 March 2020:


Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now

Coronavirus infects the world economy

Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn

Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition

Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits

For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets

Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief


News

Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services

News in brief


Workplace news

Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot

Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay

Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse

Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining

Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management

Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"

Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network

East London uni and bin worker strikes


US election

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?


Campaigns and party news

Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises

Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts

Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?

Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests

Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson

Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story

Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Student occupation in support of striking workers

Selling the Socialist

Socialist Party executive committee positions


International news

Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis


Women's and trans rights

Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement


Readers' opinion

Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

South Korea:

triangleTrump's tariffs raise international tensions

triangleKorean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

triangleTrump escalates geopolitical tensions on Korean peninsula

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Korea:

triangleBrilliant Korean film exposes class inequality

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