[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'In today's society, being poor can be deadly'

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[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'In today's society, being poor can be deadly'

With the new Covid-19 test system introduced in Korea, the policies regarding PCR tests have also changed. 
People under 60 or older who haven’t been in close contact with a confirmed patient are labeled as low-priority for PCR tests. They have no choice but to apply for rapid antigen detection tests instead, or pay for a PCR test out of their own pocket. These measures are adding to the economic burden for the family and caregivers of people considered to be highly at risk, as they are ruled out of the priority list for PCR tests.
On Feb. 2, an online petition was uploaded on the Blue House website calling for the government to take action to better support the friends and family of people considered to be highly at-risk patients. The petitioner, who lives with somebody with cancer, said they anticipate spending 2.4 million won ($2,000) a year on Covid-19 tests.
President Moon Jae-in on Feb 7 asked Blue House staff to look into measures to reduce the burden on caregivers.
“Fighting cancer is already so expensive. And we have to pay $160 extra a month?”
“In today's society, being poor can be deadly. We have to go through so much trouble, and on top of that, pay for it.”
“I’m already knee-deep in debt paying for the cancer treatments. The test costs might be mere pennies to some, but to people like us this means considering giving up treatments altogether.”
“This might stop people getting the treatment they need.”
“These people need government funds more than anyone. The government needs to manage this situation flexibly.”
“More and more complaints are piling up as they come up with new policies. I understand there are limitations to testing capabilities, but this counts as an exception. These people have no time for clumsy policies.”

BY LEE SI-YEOUNG, YOO JI-WOO [yoo.jiwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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