This feels like a milestone – and as a journalist who has followed the country’s aggressive and successful fight against this virus, it felt great just to type the words “zero cases”.
In February, South Korea had one of the worst outbreaks in Asia outside mainland China. I remember seeing exhausted doctors and nurses in the worst-hit city of Daegu telling me they would do everything they could to bring the infection rates under control, as ambulances queued around the hospital. The main buildings in the capital Seoul have been lit a brilliant blue in the evening just for them, and deservedly so.
Today thousands of South Koreans are enjoying the spring sunshine on what is a national holiday to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.
The parks are full of people laughing with friends and having picnics. The local airport is crowded with excited passengers flying to the southern island of Jeju to make the most of the long weekend – the busiest the airport has been in months.
Everyone we spoke to felt thankful that the country had stayed out of lockdown. They’ve been shocked by the impact Covid-19 has had on Europe and the US and told us they felt lucky to be able to enjoy time with friends and family. But there is also real caution here – and fear of a second wave.