S. Korea showed it's possible to contain COVID-19 without shutting down economy: NYT
Updated: 2020-03-24 17:35:23 KST
The New York Times has advised Western countries including the U.S. to learn from South Korea's containment of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Under the title 'How South Korea Flattened the Curve', the article highlights four lessons.
The first lesson is about how quickly the country reacted to the virus outbreak.
Just one week after South Korea confirmed its first case in late January, Korean government officials met with several medical firms.
That initiative led to the early development of coronavirus test kits for mass production followed by an emergency approval to use them.
Now South Korea produces about 100-thousand kits a day and it's getting ready to export them to other countries.
Lesson two is the scale of the testing.
With some 600 testing centers, including over 50 drive-through test sites, across the nation, South Korean health authorities have been able to collect samples from over 300-thousand people.
This has led to the isolation and treatment of thousands of people soon after they were found to be infected.
The third lesson is the way South Korea tracks the past movements of patients to disinfect places they have been and find out who's been in contact with them.
During the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS outbreak in South Korea, health authorities developed ways of aggressive contact tracing.
They include using security camera footage, credit card records and GPS data from patients' cars and cellphones.
The last lesson is how the Korean government communicates with the public.
With two regular briefings every day on air, health authorities have provided transparent infection data and reminded people to practice social distancing and wear masks.
This has helped earn the public's trust resulting in a high level of civic awareness and voluntary cooperation.
The article concludes by saying that the Korean model is transferable, but time poses the biggest challenge for countries that are already seeing large numbers of cases.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.