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The Coronavirus Hit South Korea Hard—Here's What Korean Celebs Are Doing To Help

As of this writing, over 5,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the East Asian country—and they're climbing quicker than they're being treated

Daegu, South Korea—More than half of South Korea's 5,000 plus cases of coronavirus originated in this city known for its party scene and countless shopping districts. But in the last few days, the otherwise lively and colorful destination has been eerily still, paralyzed, almost, by the alarming rate in which the number of infected Korean citizens continues to rise on a daily basis. (The situation has become so critical that the Philippine government has banned Filipino tourists from traveling to South Korea for the time being). 

The city also happens to be actress Son Ye-jin's hometown; Filipinos will know her from Crash Landing on You, the K-Drama that was received with much acclaim and financial success, but in these trying times, the Korean celeb doesn't feel that there is much to celebrate. 


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"Daegu is my hometown, where I was born and raised, as well as the place where my parents live now. So it is a particularly special place for me, and the news of [the COVID-19 outbreak] in Daegu was especially heartbreaking for me," she was reported saying in this interview.

To help her town amidst the outbreak, Son Ye-jin reportedly donated 100 million won (or around 4 million pesos) to the efforts to contain the virus, treat infected patients, and provide assistance to disadvantaged families without access to resources necessary to shield themselves against the fast-spreading disease. 

It's a gesture that Son Ye-jin's fellow actors and actresses, her CLOY co-star Hyun Bin, as well as a number of K-Pop stars, have done as well. For instance, Itaewon Class' Park Seo-joon has donated 100 million won to the citizens of Daegu suffering from the new coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Meanwhile, Son Ye-Jin's CLOY leading man, Hyun Bin, has made the most sizable donation to date from a Korean celebrity, as far as news outlets know: a total of 200 million won, or eight million pesos. Reports state that the actor made the financial donation in secret, initially not even advising his agency about his plans (they soon learned about this but Hyun Bin requested they keep it private). 

Below is a letter than Hyun Bin posted via his agency's Instagram account last month. The letter, which was Chinese, Japanese, and English translations, contains words of encouragement and appreciation from the actor. Rumor has it that he made the donation shortly after the letter was published. 

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⠀ 한국은 물론 중국, 일본을 포함한 아시아 전역과 전 세계에 발생한 코로나19 바이러스로 인해 불안과 걱정으로 하루, 하루를 보내고 계시리라 생각합니다. 여러분들이 계신 그곳은 안전 하신지 걱정스러운 마음에 글로나마 안부를 묻습니다. ⠀ 언제나 어려운 시기는 있어왔지만 서로를 응원하며 어려움들을 잘 이겨내 왔듯이 이번 코로나19 또한 하루 빨리 지나가기를 바라고 있습니다. ⠀ 또한, 바이러스 극복을 위해 힘 써주시고 계시는 분들의 밤낮없는 노고에 감사드리며, 끝까지 응원하도록 하겠습니다. 더불어 감염증으로 힘들어하시는 분들의 빠른 쾌유를 진심으로 바라겠습니다. ⠀ 다시 한 번, 이 글을 읽고 계신 여러분들이 바이러스로부터 안전과 건강을 지켜 내시길 바라며 저 또한 이번 일이 무사히 잘 넘어갈 수 있도록 함께 기도하겠습니다. ⠀ 2020년 2월 21일 현빈 드림 ⠀ - 我想现在包括中日韩在内的所有亚洲地区可能都因为新型冠状病毒过着不安又紧张的日子. 不知道各位所在的地方是否安全,我非常担心大家,只能留言来问候大家. ⠀ 虽然困难会不断的找上门来,但是我们一直互相加油打气克服了一次次困难,希望这次我们也可以一起尽快战胜新型冠状病毒. ⠀ 另外, 我非常感谢那些为了战胜病毒日夜不分奋战的人们,我会你们加油打气到最后. ⠀ 如果有不幸被感染而正在痛苦的朋友,真心希望你们可以早日康复. ⠀ 再一次祝愿正在看这篇文字的朋友们都可以安全健康得度过这次病毒风波,我也会和大家一起祈祷这次的事件可以平安结束. ⠀ 2020年2月21日 玄彬敬上 ⠀ - ⠀ 韓国をはじめ、中国、日本を含むアジア全域と全世界に発生した’COVID-19(通称:新型コロナウイルス)’によって、不安や心配で一日、一日を過ごされていらっしゃることと思います。皆さんがおられるその場所が安全なのか心配になり、 文章となりますが安否をお尋ねします。 ⠀ これまでも困難な時期はありましたが、互いを応援し困難をよく乗り越えてきたように、今回の’COVID-19(通称:新型コロナウイルス)’もまた、一日も早く去ってくれるように願っています。 ⠀ また、ウイルス対処のために尽力くださっている方々の昼夜のない労苦に感謝を申し上げながら、終息まで応援を続け、感染症で苦しんでいる方々の早い快癒を心よりお祈り申しあげます。 ⠀ 再度、この文を読んでいらっしゃる皆さんがウイルスから安全と健康を守りぬいてくださることを願い、僕もまた無事に乗り越えられるように祈ります。 ⠀ 2020年2月21日 ヒョンビンより ⠀ - ⠀ You might be spending day after day anxious and worrying over the Coronavirus disease 2019 which is occurring all over the world and throughout Asia including China and Japan as well as Korea. I’d like to ask after your health at least by writing to express my worry over whether the place you are at is safe. ⠀ Just as we’ve always overcome difficulties by cheering each other on despite difficult times, I hope the Coronavirus disease 2019 passes by as soon as possible. ⠀ I also appreciate those working tirelessly day and night to eradicate the virus, and I will cheer them on until the end. Furthermore, I sincerely wish the quick recovery of those suffering from its infection. ⠀ Again, I hope all those reading this are able to maintain their safety and health from the virus and I will pray this incident safely passes by. ⠀ February 21, 2020 HYUNBIN ⠀ ⠀

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The likes of Gong Yoo (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God and Train to Busan) and Kim Woo-bin have each made financial contributions, while BTS member Suga (whose hometown is also Daegu) BIGBANG'S T.O.P., Han Hyo-joo  former K-pop idol Suzy, Lee Si-young, Kim So-hyun, Kim Jae-dong, Kim Hye-eun, Kim Hye-soo, Park Hae-jin, Park Bo-young, Cha Eun-woo, singer Hyeri, Kim Han-bin, Kang Ho-dongAhn Jae-wook, and more have all helped in their own way.

Some of the recipients of their financial donations are the Korean Red Cross, non-profit Community Chest of Korea, humanitarian organization Good Neighbors, the Beautiful Foundation that assists single-mother households, Korea Food for the Hungry, and the Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association.

Aside from monetary contributions, some of these celebs have also opted to give in kind with food, face masks, and other basic necessities to the most vulnerable. 


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As of this writing, there are over 92,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide, and  3,200 have died. The virus has spread to all continents with the exception of Antarctica. 

The Philippines has reported three confirmed cases within the country as of February 28. 

Photos from @yejinhand @tvndrama.official