Over 1 million South Koreans sign petition to impeach their president over handling of virus

Earlier this month, after refusing to restrict entry of Chinese travelers, South Korean President Moon Jae-In predicted that the coronavirus outbreak in the country would “disappear before long.”

With less than 30 reported cases on Feb. 13, South Koreans were assured by Moon’s liberal government that it was OK not to wear surgical masks outdoors.

Workers disinfect a market in Daegu, the center of the South Korea infection. / Yonhap / Getty Images

By Thursday (Feb. 27), South Korea had the largest number of coronavirus infections outside of China, with 1,766 cases, including 13 deaths. There were 505 new cases reported on Thursday alone.

Over 1 million South Korean citizens have now signed a petition calling for Moon’s impeachment for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

“One of the key complaints is Moon’s refusal to ban entry of travelers from China, despite repeated urgings by the Korean Medical Association (six times since Jan. 26) and the citizens,” Tara O wrote for East Asia Research Center on Thursday.

Related: Seoul to South Koreans: ‘Share the suffering’ with ChinaFebruary 11, 2020

“As of early Feb. 27, the number of the signatories reached 1,070,418. It is unusual for a Blue House petition to reach 1 million. The petition’s end date is March 5, so the number is expected to increase,” Tara O noted.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning against travel to South Korea because of the continued spread of the coronavirus. On Monday, the CDC issued a “level 3” advisory, which warns to “avoid nonessential travel” to South Korea.

Text of the Blue House petition calling for Moon’s impeachment:

The more I look at the way President Moon Jae-in handled the Wuhan Pneumonia (Novel Coronavirus) problem, he appears more like the president of China, not the president of South Korea. In South Korea, the price of masks soared more than 10 times and the stores have been out of stock. It, therefore, has been difficult for people to buy masks due to mask shortages. Despite this situation, [President Moon] provided 3 million masks to China and has not done anything to address the soaring mask prices and shortages.

In addition, although 62 countries have imposed strong sanctions, including banning entry from China, the government has dawdled, invoking international law. When many countries around the world imposed bans, only then it took a step, but the measure was too weak, only banning entry from foreigners who visited Hubei within two weeks, which started on February 4, 2020. It absolutely doesn’t make sense. The travel ban does not apply to all of China, but only Hubei Province, which was already sealed off by China. It is just not acceptable, when the infected are from all parts of China.

Over 5 million Chinese have escaped Wuhan before the seal off began. With restricting only the foreigners who have visited the already sealed Hubei Province, Chinese in other regions of China have been allowed to continue to visit Korea.

Currently, the number of those infected with the coronavirus increases in South Korea. New Zealand, which has no infections, took strong measures to ban entry. Our country, however, has only the appearance of an entry ban, but there is no realistic policy. Currently, about 20,000 Chinese people continue to enter South Korea every day.

Shouldn’t the President of the Republic of Korea consider the protection of its citizens the most important thing? If he really thought protecting his own citizens is important, then he should have banned entry from all parts of China.

I can no longer just stand here and watch.

It is difficult to think of Moon Jae-in as our country’s president. I urge his impeachment.

READ MORE STORIES ABOUT: