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COVID-19 changes perception of wearing mask all around the world
Updated: 2020-03-25 17:10:31 KST
What are these endless lines of people waiting for? Facemasks.
After the coronavirus outbreak, people in South Korea are trying to get hold of masks.
In South Korea, the government has come up with a new system to relieve the shortage. the so-called "5-day rotation system" which limits how many masks individuals can purchase per week.
Outside of Asia… Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, has already overtaken China with the number of coronavirus deaths, and is struggling with a mask shortage.
Jang Hana, a Korean-Italian citizen who is currently living in Italy, speaks of how difficult it has been to find masks in local stores.

"Here in Italy, the usage of masks was not that common as Asian countries. Italy was not ready for such high demand. That's why the supply of masks in pharmacies and hospitals were not very prompt."

"So, do you see more people wearing masks in public now?"

"Just a few weeks ago, less than 50% of people in the streets were wearing masks, but in the last few days, when I went to the supermarket I saw almost 90% of people wearing masks."

However, Italy is not the only country that is dealing with mask crisis.
Kim Ik-jae, a local resident in Germany said, 'the nation has a critical mask and medical shortage.'

"We never had a problem with the masks supply because there were no demands for them here. But these days, it's hard to buy them… as well as the hand sanitizers and thermometers."

German health officials told the general public that healthy people should not wear masks and leave them for sick people and medical professionals.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the government explicitly discourages individual mask hoarding.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on his Twitter that people need to stop buying masks and leave them for healthcare providers to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Despite the government's effort to regulate mask shortage, the gap between demand and supply still remains… and a changed public notion on masks is leaving healthcare workers in jeopardy. Choi Won-jong, Arirang News.
Reporter : peterwjchoi@gmail.com