- Jul 18, 2008
It's one of several places in Asia that did not use draconian lockdown strategies to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As of this week South Korea had just over 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, which puts it among the top ten countries for total cases.
But South Korea has another distinction: Health experts are noting that recently the nation has managed to significantly slow the number of new cases. And they've appeared to have reigned in the outbreak without some of the strict lockdown strategies deployed elsewhere in the world.
Speaking this week to journalists, Ryan said that countries that have tested widely for the virus, isolated cases and quarantined suspected cases — in the way that South Korea and Singapore have — have managed to suppress transmission of the virus. President Trump has also praised South Korea's handling of the health crisis and even asked President Moon Jae-in for help with medical equipment to fight the outbreak in the United States.
The head of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called on other countries around the world to "apply the lessons learned in [South] Korea and elsewhere" in their own battles with this pathogen.
"In mid-January our health authorities quickly conferred with the research institutions here [to develop a test]," Kang says. "And then they shared that result with the pharmaceutical companies who then produced the reagent [chemical] and the equipment needed for the testing."
"Testing is central" to the outbreak response, says Kang, "because that leads to early detection. It minimizes further spread." And it allows health authorities to quickly isolate and treat those found with the virus.
Hong Kong and Singapore have followed similar paths in responding to this outbreak.
They've all used testing aggressively to identify cases — not only testing people who are so sick that they're hospitalized but also mild cases and even suspected cases. They've all quarantined tens of thousands of people who may have been exposed to confirmed cases.