Officials of the KCDC show the word “respect” in Korean sign language for the #ThanksChallenge on April 22. (Instagram)
Celebrities joined the #ThanksChallenge this week via their social media accounts to thank the medical personnel who have worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the start of the challenge during its regular briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic situation on April 16. The challenge consists of posting yourself showing the word “respect” in sign language -- placing the right hand with the thumb up on top of the left palm.
The challenge went viral with the photo of KCDC officials doing the sign posted on April 22, with others nominated to follow. The KCDC nominated President Moon Jae-in, children’s animation character Pororo and reporters covering the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
President Moon Jae-in responded to the KCDC’s nomination and participated in the #ThanksChallenge on April 27. (Instagram)
Moon responded to the nomination on April 27 before a meeting in Cheong Wa Dae, speaking the sign with other Cheong Wa Dae officials.
“I show my respect and gratitude toward the sacrifice of all the medical personnel,” posted President Moon.
He also nominated children’s animation creator Pinkfong, volleyball player Kim Yeon-koung and signing interpreter Kwon Dong-ho.
Pororo and Pinkfong were nominated to acknowledge the children who are also coping with the spread of the virus.
Since then, many celebrities and high-profile people have joined the challenge.
#ThanksChallenge goes viral as many celebrities, including Suzy, Kim Hye-soo and Jung Hae-in, join the cause. (Instagram)
“I sincerely thank the sacrifice and efforts of the medical staff who work in the front lines to overcome the crisis so that we can be healthy and safe,” singer and actress Suzy posted on her Instagram on Monday, after being nominated by actor and singer Lee Seung-gi.
Other celebrities who have joined the challenge include Kim Hye-soo, Jung hae-in, Ji Chang-wook, Kim Go-eun, Jo In-sung, Han Ji-min, Eric Nam, Gong Hyo-jin, K-pop group Momoland and singer Boa, among others.
Political figures such as Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon have joined the challenge as well as businessmen, including Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman and CEO Chung Yong-jin and CEO of KB Financial Group Yoon Jong-gyu.
Over 12,000 posts with #ThanksChallenge have been posted on Instagram.
By Lim Jang-won (firstname.lastname@example.org