On January 20th South Korea reported its first case of COVID-19.
Since then, the country has reported around 60,000 cases a low number considering its densely packed population of 55 million people.
Its virus containment measures have been based around 3 Ts: testing, tracing, and treatment.
First, Testing.
The country acted quickly and developed COVID-19 test kits as soon as there was a sign that the virus could become a global pandemic.
Methods such as drive-thru testing and walk-thru testing were created to provide a fast and safe environment for screening.
Other countries quickly learned from South Korea and adopted fast and efficient testing.

“South Korea has now tested more than 196,000 people. But we are not anywhere close to that. They started conducting drive through testing, but people here in the United States can’t even get tested by their own doctors”.

After testing comes tracing.
To fight clusters of infections, government started tracing possible infection routes. Those who could potentially have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient had to immediately test and self-quarantine.
In the early stages, credit card history and wi-fi sign-ons were used to trace those who came into contact with the infected. Later, QR codes were introduced for a faster, more accurate and private method of contact tracing.

“Personal information encrypted in the QR code will be stored in an encrypted format at the institutions that issue the QR codes. All detailed records will be stored separately by a third institution.”

Treatment is the last keyword.
As soon as a case was reported, medical personnel in full protective suits came to take them to isolated medical facilities for prompt treatment.
Before the third wave hit Korea, only two people had died from COVID-19 while waiting for a hospital bed but the third wave has stretched medical infrastructure to the limit and more people have died while waiting for treatment.

“From deploying fast, anonymous testing to turning college dorms into care centers, the country has come a long way, but the explosion of cases in the third wave of the pandemic means Korea can’t stand still and will have to keep improving and adapting its virus prevention measures.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.”

Reporter : tkim@arirang.com


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