South Korea, an inspiring model to slow the COVID-19 spread

Turning crisis into opportunityExpanding international solidarity in crisis South Korea which once had the largest outbreak outside China has managed to bend its curve, with the daily virus record down. According to the authority, the country...
  • Turning crisis into opportunity
  • Expanding international solidarity in crisis

South Korea which once had the largest outbreak outside China has managed to bend its curve, with the daily virus record down. According to the authority, the country has seen less than 50 daily new cases of COVID-19 for eighth straight day as of April 16.

Amid growing concern over the pandemic, Korea stands out from the rest. As global deaths have surged, experts and officials are scrutinizing Korea for lessons. Few would question that success were attributed to swift action for screening, high volume testing, tracing and monitoring, and active support from citizens.

Keep it Transparent

In 2015, when MERS outbreak severely hit South Korea, the situation was totally different from now. MERS infected 145 people in Korea within a month and that was the largest number outside the Middle East. Korean government received severe criticism for withholding critical information early in the MERS-outbreak including the names and locations of hospitals. The government refused to make data public as it was concerned about public panic. So, Korean government learned the important principles, promptness and transparency, from early experience to dealing with pandemic disease. Now, In the course of responding the COVID-19 outbreak, Korean government has been gaining much credit from home and abroad.

Be quick & early adapter!

Korean government has made great use of cutting-edge ICT technology in forefront fight against COVID-19. It seems that now is a great time to make a new trial. The 80 innovative drive-through testing stations expanded the availability of testing and reduced the time needed. Beyond the driving-through testing station, Korea has adopted walk-through testing station for the first time in the world to more quickly and safely collect samples.

Innovative mobile apps allow self-diagnostic test and inform about the availability of masks in nearby pharmacies, providing fast and accessible care. Self-diagnosis mobile application development by the government to monitor symptoms of inbound travelers, which also greatly helped to provide prompt medical advice. Self-quarantine safety application has also developed to effectively support monitoring of those under self-quarantine and making sure that they stay in designated locations. The APP provides not only Korean language but also English and Chinese.

Changing crisis into opportunities

South Korea is now held by the WHO as a policy example to COVID-19 crisis. Due to South Korea’s perceived success of responding to such health crises, leaders including Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven have contacted President Moon inquiring more into the measures implemented in Korea.

Amid the crisis, Korea is seeking a new field for growth. United actions by the government, research institutions, and private companies have paved the way for prompt development, fast approval and mass production of testing kits. Through coordinated efforts, Korea continues to produce testing kits with improved production capacity. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 100 countries have shown interest in them.