COVID-19: SOUTH KOREA MODEL FOR CONTACT TRACING

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The Republic of South Korea has been globally credited with a landmark achievement in curtailing the community spread of the COVID-19 among its populaces. This achievement is against the backdrop of the government’s ability to devise a contact tracing system known as Smart Management System (SMS) which has the capability to analyze the movement of infected individuals in 10 minutes.

While explaining the country’s approach, Kang Kyung-wha, South Korean Foreign Minister speaking at the recent World Economic Forum COVID Task Force virtual meeting, noted that Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) runs a contact tracing system that uses data from 28 different organizations to trace the movement of individuals with COVID-19.

New arrivals into the country are directed to download a government smartphone app that tracks their location and asks them to report any symptoms. Even those without symptoms are forced to self-quarantine for two weeks, after which the app displays a message saying they’re allowed to delete the app from their phone.

Social commentators have so far lauded the technique employed by the Korean government in curbing the spread of COVID-19, especially after the country held its parliamentary election earlier in April with voters required to wear masks and gloves to cast ballots; showing that sanitary precautions can allow public life to continue without mass fatality.

Today, there is a sense of normalcy returning to South Korea. No cities are under lockdown, the restaurants, churches, bars, gyms and learning institutes are allowed to open if they observe the government quarantine guidelines, trains and buses run on schedule while its citizens wear masks and exercise social distancing at all times which helps prevent further infection.

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