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Thanks to you: On social media, S. Koreans pay gratitude to doctors, nurses fighting virus

Yonhap Korea Stories 15:10 April 24, 2020

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- From figure skating queen Kim Yu-na to disease control center chief Jeong Eun-kyeong, South Koreans are taking to social media to thank health workers at the forefront of the country's fight against the new coronavirus.

One week into its launch, more than 2,600 people have uploaded photos of them holding their hand in a thumbs-up pose with their palm stretched underneath -- which means "respect" or "pride" in Korean sign language.

The posts include hashtags that in English translate to #ThankstoYouCampaign, #ThankstoYouChallenge and #ThankstoHealthWorkers and the names of three people to continue the challenge.

This April 23, 2020, screenshot of figure skating champion Kim Yu-na's Instagram account shows her taking part in a social media challenge to cheer up health workers. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Yonhap)

The government's official Instagram account (@gov_korea) shows a post of Kim, who nominated skeleton athlete Yun Sung-bin, golfer Im Sung-jae and short track speed skater Choi Min-jeong.

In another post, K-pop diva BoA encouraged people to take part in the challenge to cheer up doctors and nurses and named pop duo TVXQ's U-Know Yunho to take the baton.

Officials at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including chief Jeong Eun-kyeong, who has calmly briefed the public on the latest developments, have also taken part.

Also among those who took part in the campaign are Incheon-based baseball club SK Wyverns, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and National Police Agency chief Min Gab-ryong.

"We express our deepest gratitude and respect to health workers who have braved infection risks and inconveniences to come to COVID-19 sites, as well as those who are looking after patients at their own respective sites," Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip said in an April 16 press briefing.

"(We hope) that citizens can also take part in the campaign with various creative ideas," Kim said as he introduced the social media campaign.

These images, provided by the government, show government officials, celebrities and athletes taking part in a social media campaign to show respect for health workers. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Yonhap)

The government said it plans to distribute badges bearing the symbolic gesture to health workers and people who took part in the campaign and to use the uploaded photos and videos for promotional materials.

South Korea, which first reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 20, has reported 10,708 infections as of Friday.

On Friday, the country reported six new cases. It also reported no additional deaths for the first time since March 16.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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