I came to UK last Monday with my family. I plan to stay in London for the next year. The main purpose of coming to UK is for my wife’s studies, and I took a leave of absence to support my wife’s studies, such as school and housework for my daughter, who is entering primary school this time. On the other hand, I also had a strong desire to take a break for a while, leaving behind the period of non-stop running for 8 years, 5 years as an intern and a resident, 3 years at the public health center.
There were many ups and downs before coming to UK this time. The plan was to come to the UK last year, but it has been delayed by a year due to COVID-19. Even this time, my family’s UK visa was delayed and we almost couldn’t leave the country on the scheduled date. So, day after day, I was anxiously waiting to get my visa, and only three days before departure, I got my passport and managed to leave the country. Although it was three days ago, the day I received my passport was Friday and departure was the following Monday. So, even if the passport collection was delayed by just one day, the schedule was almost in danger.
My family is staying in the heart of London, England, only a 10-minute walk to the British Museum. As I mentioned in my book, I love museums. When I travel abroad, I always go to the famous museum there first. Even during a strike during my hospital training, I was chilled at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA. Again, after my wife goes to study and my daughter goes to school, I plan to spend most of my free time at the British Museum.
On the other hand, I’m thinking of spending some time on my blog, which I’ve been putting down for a while. Of course, I will try to cover the story of London, England, where I am staying. Regarding my job, I think I can tell a story about health care in the UK. Of course, I will also talk about the UK in response to COVID-19, based on experience.
Actually, there aren’t many people wearing masks here. Even those who go out to work around them during self-isolation are not strictly restricted. People say that this is a reflection of a culture that values individual freedom. However, considering that a series of actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not only to avoid harm to themselves but also to others, it seems that various perspectives on the freedom of the British are possible.
Another thing that surprised me when I came to the UK regarding COVID-19 is the way tests are conducted. In the case of Korea, if you enter from overseas, you go to a public health center, get tested for COVID-19, and go into self-quarantine for 14 days. In contrast, the UK self-quarantine period is 10 days, and they are tested for COVID-19 twice on the 2nd day and the 8th day. The test can be conducted by visiting a test facility like in Korea, but you can also receive a test kit by mail to a place under self-quarantine and conduct the test yourself. We received our test kits in the mail and proceeded.
There is also a difference in the cost of inspection. In Korea, the test is free (with taxes paid by the citizens), but in the UK, a private company conducts the test, so the individual has to pay for it. One interesting fact is that, in addition to the mandatory tests on the 2nd and 8th days, if you receive the test on the 5th day (Test to Release) at an additional cost, the self-quarantine ends early in 5 days. My family had issues with their child’s school schedule, so we put a five-day early shutdown, which cost around £200 per person (!) with the extra cost. I felt that there were as many differences as the geographic distance between the two countries.
It has been sunny since we arrived on Monday. In general, I heard that the UK is cooler than Korea, but the past few days have been warmer than Korea. But it doesn’t last a few days, and it rains a lot from today. I can still hear the sound of raindrops falling outside the window through the curtains. Looks like I’m definitely in the UK.
(Next post will be updated soon.)