arirang mobile

Subway cars in Seoul still crowded during rush hour despite Level 2.5 social distancing
Updated: 2020-12-29 10:05:54 KST
This is what Seoul's subway looks like at eight o'clock in the morning.
Despite the continued social distancing level 2.5 amid the rise in COVID-19 cases, subway cars are still crammed during rush hour.

"I thought I left home earlier than usual, but I guess it's still very crowded since many people are doing the same."

Keeping a healthy distance inside the subway cars - that are generally poorly ventilated - is practically impossible.
This is the confined, crowded and close-contact environment, which the South Korean government has repeatedly urged the public to avoid.

"Aside from the inconvenience of wearing masks, I'm always concerned about the possibility of getting infected on the train."

While the government has urged corporations to adopt work-from-home schemes, many are still physically commuting to their offices on crowded subways.

"Working from home is not an option for me. I'm especially worried on my way home as it's extremely crowded at around 6 p.m. So I try to face toward an empty area inside the train."

This is especially worrisome as COVID-19 cases with unknown sources of infection account for nearly 30 percent of the country's total cases.
Experts say it's highly likely the virus could have spread via public transit, especially through buttons and handles that are frequently touched by numerous people.

"There are no cases reported as tracing is practically impossible. The government needs to press companies to allow their employees to work from home."

As public transit workers - bus drivers and those working at subway stations - have tested positive for the virus, there are mounting concerns over possible transmissions.
To this end, the city of Seoul plans to test all public transit employees in the near future.
Nevertheless, many point out that the South Korean government needs to take a more fundamental approach, by proactively demanding firms adopt flexible working hours or work-from-home schemes.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
Reporter :