Bubble Quarantine: A Way for People to get back to Normal
Bubble Quarantine: A Way for People to get back to Normal
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  • 승인 2021.08.31 10:24
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  Last year, in the aftermath of the COVID-19, many big sports events such as the Tokyo Olympics were postponed and spectators were also banned from entering stadiums. NHK (Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai) reported that Japan lost 7 trillion won due to this postponement. CUK students expressed regret that they were unable to watch the game due to a sporting event that was cancelled last year. Also, an anonymous student said he was sorry he could not see the highlights of the game because it was canceled.

▲ Crowds gathered for the Euro 2020 final (source=CUF)
▲ Crowds gathered for the Euro 2020 final (source=CUF)

          "The day the football mute button was lifted after a long time."
                                                                                        -BBC Sports-

  However, the Euro, a UEFA (Union of European Football Associations)-organized tournament held in June 2021, is being held successfully. Also, many spectators could watch soccer games on the pitch. Unlike last year, people were able to enter the stadium and host big competitions by using a “bubble quarantine.” Bubble quarantine systems have enabled people to re-enter the arena as they did in the past. 

Definition of Bubble Quarantine

  Bubble quarantine refers to the rule that allows movement in a bubble freely but blocks traffic from the outside. In other words, it is conducted in isolation only within a particular organization, in isolation from the outside world. At first, it appeared as a concept related to travel bubbles. Since July 2020, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia have been free to travel using travel bubbles. Bubble quarantine, which applies the concept used in travel bubble to entertainment, is more widely used in the sports world. In sports, leagues from each European country have been allowed to use bubble protection to play from late May 2020.

                                        About Travel Bubbles
   “Travel bubble” is the rule that allows countries with excellent quarantine in the COVID-19 situation free travel without self-isolation upon entry. People from both countries who have agreed to apply this system can travel to each other's countries. However, some point out that the travel bubble is limited. First, each government needs to reduce the number of confirmed cases of covid-19 in a country. For example, Singapore and Hong Kong originally planned to conduct a two-way non-isolation trip by designated aircraft between the two cities from December 22 last year under the Travel Bubble agreement. However, the implementation was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation became worsen. 

Sports kicked out thanks to Bubble Quarantine


▲ Kai Havertz in self-isolation (source=CUK)
▲ Kai Havertz in self-isolation (source=CUK)

  In the sports world, bubble quarantines have greatly benefited the depressed sports world due to COVID-19. The Premier League, a major English football league, has successfully rounded off the 2020-2021 season using bubble quarantine. In the early days of bubble quarantine, players and People who work in football were not allowed to contact the outside world. Football player of Chelsea FC Kai Havertz went into quarantine after being shut off from the outside world when he was confirmed to COVID-19 in November 2020. Afterwards, he could return to the stadium after being declared completely cured.

Bubble quarantine has also been used to start the MLB (Major League Baseball) in 2020, after the football community first used bubble quarantines. In MLB, they used quarantines to isolate the entire stadium of two teams. By doing so, entire stadiums became bubbles. Therefore, the players are able to proceed safely.

The use of Bubble Quarantines in Korea

  The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced plans to promote travel safety zones on June 9. By creating a safe travel zone, the plan allows vaccinated people to travel abroad as a group. It is also to ease restrictions on foreign arrivals. An official of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry (MCST) of Transportation said, "This travel safety zone was the result of continuous efforts by the public and private sectors.” They said that it will be an opportunity for Korean tourism industry to take a bigger leap forward through safe and secure travel safety zones in the future.

▲ South Korean national soccer team athletes training (source=yna.co.kr)
▲ South Korean national soccer team athletes training (source=yna.co.kr)

  In addition, our national teams are using bubble quarantines. The national Olympic football team is currently training at the Paju National Football Training Center (NFC), blocked from the outside. Also, both players and people involved have been vaccinated for safety. An anonymous CUK student said through the bubble quarantine that he hoped the soccer matches of the Korean Olympic team would be carried out safely. Bubble quarantine is thus helping our lives return to the same way they did in the past. 

Bubble quarantine in Tokyo Olympic

▲ Playbook, Tokyo Olympic guidelines on quarantine rules (source=olympics.com)
▲ Playbook, Tokyo Olympic guidelines on quarantine rules (source=olympics.com)

  Tokyo Olympics, which had been postponed due to COVID-19, will also be held this year. The Tokyo Olympics is also trying to use bubble quarantines to create a safe Olympics. According to the second edition of the playbook on the prevention of the Tokyo Olympics released on April 26, athletes are required to undergo two tests within 96 hours of departure and submit a negative test result certificate. Not only when entering the village of athletes, but also during their stay, athletes are inspected every day.

  On the other hand, there are concerns about the bubble quarantine of Tokyo Olympics. Even if athletes are shut off from the outside world during the Olympics, they have no choice to contact 300,000 volunteers, interpreters and bodyguards. In the sense of that the all of people related with Olympic use public transport, the quarantine could be broken down easily despite the other effort. Also, they work in the form of commuting from home. In other words, they cannot isolate players completely by coming into contact with the outside world.

  In addition, it may not be possible to construct a complete bubble. An example is the Australian softball squad, which entered Tokyo on June 1, 2021. The Australian squad stayed in Ota, Gunma Prefecture, an off-season training site, and the Ota community suggested to the Cabinet that the Australian squad be allowed to shop once a week, saying it was difficult to provide quarantine guidelines for the Tokyo Olympics. In response, the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are considering vaccinating officials who are likely to contact athletes.

  Officials of the Japanese Olympic Games need to make up for the problems that could arise like this. "If the floating population increases nationwide during the Tokyo Olympics, the infection rate will increase," said Omi Shigeru, president of the Covid-19 Task Force. He went on to advise, "Stop public viewing of large screens and gather together to watch the Olympic Games, and if there are clear signs of the spread of COVID-19 infection even during the Olympics, take measures strengthening the quarantine criteria without hesitation." In other words, the Tokyo Olympics needs safer plan than now to be a safe Olympics.

  There is a need to make new attempts in everyday life, just as the sporting world has tried to ride out the crisis. At this point, bubble quarantines could be a good way. There is a famous saying in Korea that a good start is half the battle. It seems that bubble quarantine needs to start small and gradually be introduced into everyday life, although it does not change much. CUF is sure a lot of people are still exhausted. Therefore, for these weary people, people will have to make an effort to restore our daily lives. CUF hope that our lives will return through bubble quarantine. 

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