Former KOIN reporter living in S. Korea amid virus outbreak


"It's a little unnerving," said Emily Sinovic

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As people in the Pacific Northwest respond to the threat of the coronavirus, Americans abroad are also concerned about the impacts of the new virus. Former KOIN 6 News reporter Emily Sinovic currently lives in South Korea. She spoke with KOIN 6 News on Sunday about what daily life is like and what citizens are feeling in some of the hard-hit areas overseas.

“It’s a little unnerving, I guess, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen from one day to the next,” said Sinovic.

She teaches English in the South Korean town of Pyeongtaek, where she lives with her husband, who is stationed at Camp Humphreys. They live about two hours from Daegu, where a number of people have tested positive for the coronavirus. The CDC has advised against nonessential travel to this area due to “the high level of community transmission of [the] virus.”

“When you hear the numbers spike in Korea like we have, and the reports, you watch CNN and with everything else people are hearing around here, it’s a little bit unsettling,” said Sinovic. “The reporter in me wants to have as much information as possible.”

She said she’s not as concerned about falling ill, but is more worried about travel restrictions. She had a flight planned to go see family in Kansas City, but the airline canceled the flight. She said she has had this trip planned for a while, but is afraid she won’t be able to leave.

“What I’m trying to do is get out on a flight Sunday,” said Sinovic. “Sunday evening from Seoul, and crossing my fingers that actually goes because I think a lot can change between now and Sunday.”

Emily Sinovic teaching in South Korea. Undated. (Courtesy Emily Sinovic)

The spread of the virus has even effected people on the base. The military told soldiers and officers to not go anywhere other than home and work.

“You are not just talking about military people—families, their kids, the schools on base are shut down this week, but that’s following in step with South Korean school,” said Sinovic. The school she teaches English at was temporarily shut down, and she is uncertain how long that closure will last. “They are trying to play it by ear to see what happens.”

KOIN 6 News will continue to track the coronavirus locally, nationwide, and across the world as the situation develops.

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