DAEGU, South Korea -- There was an eerie silence at Dongdaegu Station on Friday morning. Daegu, which was one of the most popular travel destinations in Korea, had become a place to avoid after the city saw an exploding number of confirmed COVID-19 patients. In the entire station, only see five people were watching television, and the ticket booth was closed.
|Dongseong-no, which is the busiest shopping street in Daegu, remains almost vacant on Friday after the COVID-19 virus engulfed the city on Friday.|
The desolate scene continued to unfold outside the station. Despite being a Friday, Dongseong-no, which is the busiest shopping street in Daegu and known for its lively atmosphere of youthful vitality, resembled a post-apocalyptic street with few people.
Normally, the street would have been packed with people enjoying a drink at a café or bar as the weather had started to get warmer. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the road was only occupied by a few masked people in a hurry to get home and the loud music being played by some of the stores that remained open.
|A message board shows CGV, a movie theater franchise, will be temporarily closing down all of its branches within Daegu during the COVID-19 outbreak.|
Even then, there were not that many stores open as most of them, including restaurants, bars, cinemas, and entertainment facilities, were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19. Although the number of shops open increased compared to the end of last month when the spread began to spike, many shops posted that they will be shortening their business hours during the outbreak. The only businesses occupied by people were pharmacies.
On the street from Jungang-no Station to Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center, not a single person was without a face mask. Some businesses, such as pharmacies, supermarkets, and bakeries, even prohibited people from entering their stores without a mask.
Also, even though the time would normally have seen a lot of traffic, the roads were quite empty, with only a few students waiting for the bus.
Despite such an eerie atmosphere, the city did not feel like a hopeless place thanks to the various hopeful messages asking for unity among the citizen of Daegu.
The city was full of banners calling for overcoming the COVID-19, while shops that were announcing temporary closures also did not forget to express their support. Citizens also sent letters encouraging local hospitals combating the virus and doctors operating neighborhood clinics suspended their business to lend hands to regional hospitals. Citizens of Daegu were quietly but manifestly adding strength to one another in overcoming the virus in their ways.
|A bulletin panel at Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center is filled with supportive letters from local citizens on Friday.|
The Daegu Medical Association (DMA), for example, was busy receiving various medical items and distributing them to places that need them.
“We have been receiving overwhelming support from people sending donation or supplies of goods to help doctors in the field,” DMA President Lee Sung-gu said. “We would like to express our gratitude to everyone, but some of the donors even send their donation anonymously.”
As of Friday noon, there are 4,694 confirmed patients in Daegu, and it seems likely that the city will continue to see hundreds of new patients every day for some time. By just looking at numbers, the future might look gloomy. However, there is hope and willingness to overcome the disease and not get bogged down by such numbers.
Although the city was under virtual lockdown, there was unmistakable unity and determination among the citizens of Daegu.
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