SEOUL -- Without compulsory regulations, more than 90 percent of South Koreans were found to have followed anti-epidemic guidelines spontaneously, refraining from going out or entering multi-use facilities, to help their country contain a new coronavirus epidemic, a state survey showed.
Since the first COVID-19 patient was reported on January 20, South Korea has never introduced compulsory guidelines for ordinary people. Along with the early detection of suspected cases through extensive virus screening, the public's voluntary participation in social distancing has been induced, with nearly all people asked to wear masks, wash hands and stay away from each other.
A recent survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), showed that 96 percent refrained from going out, 95 percent refrained from entering multi-use facilities and 92.3 percent did not participate in group meetings or religious events.
"Many people have put an action guide for social distancing into practice," KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a regular press briefing on Wednesday, referring to South Korea's mature civic consciousness that has played a pivotal role in reducing the number of daily infection to a controllable level.
"I believe that if we reach out to my neighbors and friends to encourage and support them, it will contribute greatly to helping individuals overcome the crisis and minimizing the psychological trauma of our society," Jeong said, calling for a social psychotherapy campaign to encourage and console each other.
In order to transform social distancing into an established disinfection system in daily life, Jeong said that detailed guidelines would be worked out.
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