But what is more specific of the Republic of Korea is the controversy regarding disclosing to the public the identity and the location of patients and quarantined individuals. On its website, KCDC provides extended lists of confirmed cases. Even though the names are not revealed, a wide range of personal information is disclosed: age, sex, neighborhood, where the infection took place. Local governments relay those information through local and social media. Some cities even release "emergency alerts" through text messages to inform inhabitants of confirmed case in their vicinity. Names are not mentioned, but information such as occupation, employers and travel history are relayed, and even translated in English for foreign inhabitants. Private initiatives emerge, such as an aggregation of KCDC data through the website Coronamap.
The invasion of privacy becomes so extreme that the National Human Right Commission expresses concern about the excessive disclosing of private information of patients, which are easily identified by their workplace or travel history. On March 10, KCDC sets new guidelines preventing regional governments from leaking information (such as address or employer) that could lead to identification of patients. However, an exception is made for cases where a patient has infected large numbers of colleagues at work.
The Korean government, like Taiwan, has adopted an industrial policy to support and control mask production and distribution. The country has a daily mask production capacity of 10 million units, yet 90% of the raw materials are imported from China. This explains why the Korean policy to boost production centered on the local production and retail of the key raw material for mask production, melt-blown nonwoven fabric filters. According to Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, the ROK targets an increase of its daily mask output from 10 million to at least 13 million. To avoid shortages, the government first limits mask exports to 10% of the output before completely banning mask exports from March 5. On the same day, to prevent hoarding situations faced earlier in the month, the Korean government decides rationing and control of their national distribution. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announces that masks will first be provided to the medical, quarantine and law-enforcement sectors, and then evenly distributed to the general population. Korea Post is put in charge of distributing 650,000 masks though all its post office, with buying limited to five masks by person at a price of 1,000 won per mask (around 0,81 USD). Overall, compared to Taiwan, the mask production and distribution strategy has been much less successful, leading the vice-minister of Health to state on March 1: "We apologize deeply to people regarding mask issues".