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S. Korea's data-based 'smart' measures against COVID-19 Updated: 2020-02-20 13:26:30 KST

Data analysis has been at the center of South Korea's battle against COVID-19.

One prime example is ICT-based 'contact tracing'.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses data provided by local telecommunications and credit card companies, to trace those who may have come into contact with confirmed patients.
The cooperation began following the 2015 MERS outbreak which triggered an amendment to privacy laws and allowed the government to track personal information when national health is at risk.

The government is also using data analysis to monitor potential patients.
Since February 12th, all foreign entrants are required to report their condition using the newly-launched app 'Self-health Check'.
They are required to check in once a day for 2 weeks and those who fail to do so within two days upon arrival will receive a direct call from health authorities.
The government said around 88 percent of entrants download the app.

Experts say this smart monitoring system is critical in containing viruses in the early stages of an outbreak.

"ICT-based contact tracing reduces time and mistakes compared to how it is done manually. This allows the government to quickly detect and isolate patients,and minimize their exposure to others."

He said the system remains vital in the current transitional period where the outbreak is entering a new phase.

"Now, we are at the stage where the virus is gradually spreading into local communities. And in the beginning of that stage, it is still important that we find patients quickly and have them under control."

But he added, if the virus spreads further, resources will need to be redistributed to minimize the damage and to focus more on high-risk patients.

Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
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