A musician who felt the US was unsafe went to South Korea. He posted about his 2-week mandatory quarantine on TikTok, but wouldn’t encourage others to leave.

People take selfies at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul, South Korea, May 6, 2020.
People take selfies at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul, South Korea, May 6, 2020.

Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang via Getty Images

  • A young American had to go through a two-week, mandated quarantine after he landed in South Korea. 

  • The musician, who goes by Peachy, decided to go to South Korea after feeling like the US was unsafe due to its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing protests.

  • Peachy vlogged his experience on TikTok to give people an idea of what the quarantine is like. 

  • He paid for his stay and was not allowed to leave his hotel room for the duration of his stay, he could only go to the door to pick up food or drop off trash. 

  • Despite feeling like South Korea is safer than the US, he’s not encouraging people to travel. 

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.’

After feeling unsafe in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and protests, a 19-year-old musician fled the US to South Korea. 

When he arrived, the musician known as Peachy, decided he wanted to make TikTok vlogs of his stay in a government-mandated two-week quarantine. 

“I was flying out of New York where there’s a lot going on with the virus and there’s protests and stuff like that. So I just came here because things are easier here, and it’s a lot safer,” he told Insider. “Things are still open, and I could meet up with some people that I have business with.”

Peachy said he plans to stay for three months, the longest he can stay on a tourist visa, and he felt it was worth the cost of the mandated two-week quarantine. 

@heyimpeachy

tbh a lotta waiting lol drop any questions ya got 🙂 maybe i’ll upload a vlog of what a day here is like soon!! ##korea ##한국틱톡

♬ Buttercup – MixAndMash

 

 

He said he decided to leave after an encounter with officers during protests last month; he alleged they blocked the road towards his apartment and would not let him go home despite a curfew being set. The incident made him feel like it wasn’t safe to stay in the US, and he began looking at where else he could go.

“So, I was like, why would I want to stay here? … There’s so many people that aren’t wearing masks and stuff, so it’s not safe to be out all the time, but if I can’t even get home sometimes — and that’s dangerous,” he said. 

@heyimpeachy

if ya got any questions abt it shoot me a question below! ##한국틱톡 ##koreaquarantine

♬ Focus – LLusion

 

While he considered countries like Iceland, many nations have closed their borders to Americans in light of the coronavirus outbreak that has yet to be brought under control. 

Peachy said he was aware that he would have to be quarantined for two weeks on arrival in Seoul and was given an estimated range of how much it would likely cost before his flight. 

“So before you even go to Korea, like this happened in the New York airport, they make you sign a waiver saying that you are aware that you will have to pay for the entire two-week quarantine facility,” he said. 

At the airport, he was told the stay would cost no more than the equivalent of $2,000 and he ended up paying around $1,500 for his stay.

Peachy said everyone on his Korea Air flight was wearing a mask, and no one was sitting directly next to each other.

When he arrived, he said he was given a lot of paperwork and made to download an app where he would input any symptoms he had each day. He added that he needed a sponsor in Korea, and had given the phone number for a friend in Seoul, who authorities called while he was in the airport.

“When you were in quarantine every single day, you had to put in your symptoms, and they gave you a little thermometer. So you could check your temperature and send that in. And if you didn’t, they would call you pretty much immediately,” he said. 

After he was done at the airport, he was placed on a bus with about four other people to head to the quarantine hotel, which was roughly 15 minutes away. He said he was tested as soon as he got to the hotel. Peachy explained that those who tested negative, like himself, were given a notice when they’re quarantine was over, those who tested positive were informed after a few days.

He said everyone he dealt with was dressed in full protective gear, which described as being similar to “hazmat suits.”

“They were very cautious the entire time. I was really impressed by how they handled everything,” he said. 

Repatriated Filipino workers stuck in quarantine amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) finally allowed to go home, in Pasay
Repatriated Filipino workers stuck in quarantine amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) finally allowed to go home, in Pasay

Reuters

He said he couldn’t imagine the same protocol really happening in the US because people don’t “trust the government.”

The US surpassed 4 million coronavirus cases on Thursday with over 144,000 deaths. South Korea has recorded less than 14,000 cases with 297 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University. 

South Korea’s quarantine policy, which requires that foreign nationals on short term visits must be quarantined for at least 2 weeks at a mandated facility, went into effect on April 1. 

The quarantine was strict, but not miserable he said. While people couldn’t leave their rooms at all, they were provided with three meals a day and plenty of snacks and had access to WiFi and entertainment. 

“The quarantine itself it was nice. The only thing that I didn’t like was the food but they gave you plenty. It wasn’t that great, but I mean it’s not a big deal,” Peachy said. 

He said he spent his time catching up with friends virtually, making music, learning Korean, and watching plenty of Netflix. He explained that anyone looking to travel and be in a mandated quarantine should plan to keep themselves entertained with things they could do in their room because authorities were very strict.

“Going outside should not be on the list of things you want to do, ’cause that’s absolutely not going to happen,” he said. 

Peachy also decided that he wanted to document his days on TikTok so others could have an idea of what the experience was like. He told Insider he was convinced that Korea was the right place to go and that the quarantine wouldn’t be bad because he came across another TikTok video showing someone else’s stay. 

“One girl had uploaded her experience in our Korean government quarantine,” he explained. “And I was like, well it’s a hotel. It’s not when I think government quarantine, I think like it’s probably some warehouse where people are boarded off and not doing anything fun, but she showed me, I mean, she posted this video showing that it was a hotel room and, you know, you had a view of Inchon city.”

The packaging from a disposable oropharygeal swab sampler and the instructions from a COVID-19 self-administered test kit provided by the Department of Health and Social Care are seen on May 08, 2020 in London, England.
The packaging from a disposable oropharygeal swab sampler and the instructions from a COVID-19 self-administered test kit provided by the Department of Health and Social Care are seen on May 08, 2020 in London, England.

Leon Neal/Getty Images

He explained that he began making vlogs when he visited South Korea for the first time in February and gained a following on TikTok. He decided to restart the vlog when he was back in the country under quarantine.

“So I thought, I mean, my mom gave me the initial idea. She told me: ‘Hey, you should definitely document this stuff because people, other people who are gonna travel for work might need to see whether it’s going to be like.’ TikTok was the place I had the biggest fan base and so I thought it would only be best to show it on there,” he said. 

Peachy explained that people began sending him questions about his stay, and he began answering in additional videos. 

Despite his videos, Peachy said while he does think South Korea is safer than most countries, he doesn’t advise everyone to immediately travel there, citing the risk of traveling now and the cost of the quarantine.

“I don’t want to give people the wrong idea. I’m not trying to encourage people to come. Just, I don’t want to encourage everybody to go from their country to come to South Korea because this is some haven,” he said. “I don’t think it would be a good idea for everybody to come here.” 

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