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Big Data Analysis of People’s Movement Shows the Importance of Social Distancing
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( T. 120)

Movement from Daegu to the Seoul Capital Area decreased by over 53 percent on the weekend of August 29 and 30 compared to the previous year



  Daegu Metropolitan City analyzed the data on the change in the movement of its citizens, which revealed that the movement of Daegu citizens from Daegu to the Seoul Capital Area over the past weekend (August 29 to 30) decreased by 53 percent compared to the previous year. However, the inflow of people from the Seoul Capital Area to Daegu has not decreased, which means that it would be important for Daegu citizens to voluntarily practice level 2 social distancing.


Recently the group infections that began in the Seoul Capital Area (Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, and Incheon) have led to community transmission and an increase in the percentage of cases with unknown transmission route. As a result, the Korean government announced Level 2 social distancing measures on August 22. Daegu implemented stronger measures than recommended by the government on August 23 and requested that the citizens of Daegu refrain from visiting the Seoul Capital Area for a little while.


Using the population movement data from SK Telecom, Daegu analyzed the changes in the movement of Daegu citizens from May to August.


The movement from Daegu to the Seoul Capital Area began to decrease markedly from around August 22, when the number of new cases in the Seoul Capital Area rose to over 200 a day, and plummeted by 42 percent in the past week (August 24 to 30) compared to the same period in the previous year. The analysis also showed that the population movement from Daegu to other regions in Korea by only 15 percent, which shows that Daegu citizens refrained from heading to the Seoul Capital Area than to other places in Korea.


Population movement from the Seoul Capital Area to Daegu increased by 12 percent over the vacation season in July and August (July 1 to August 22), due to the increase in domestic travels after the restrictions on people entering South Korea from overseas. It then soared to 20 percent in the second and third weeks of August, when the number of COVID-19 cases was rapidly increasing in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, and fell to nine percent in the fourth week. This result shows the need for a strengthened level 2 social distancing measures within the region.


Movement within Daegu decreased as well. Due to the implementation of remote learning and dividing a class into two groups, and each half coming to school every other day, the population movement from May to August decreased by about 10 percent compared to the population movement from the same period the previous year, while the population movement in the past week decreased by 17 percent compared to the same period the previous year.


Summarily, after the massive outbreak of COVID-19 cases on August 16 the population movement from Daegu to other areas have been dramatically reduced, while the inflow from the Seoul Capital Area to Daegu remained the same and the movement in Daegu was also only slightly down. This confirmed the importance of individuals practicing social distancing measures.


Chae Hong-ho, Deputy Mayor for Administrative Affairs at Daegu requested, “Please partake in the government’s strengthened social distancing measures by wearing masks in the current circumstance with increased spread of Covid-19 in Seoul and surrounding regions.” He added that the city plans to further strengthen the safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and stop the inflow of sources of infection into the city by operating thermal imaging cameras at train stations and bus terminals.