–Written By Apoorv Mishra
South Korea is being applauded by the whole world for its successful fight in containing the Corona Virus. It was having a bigger escalation than Italy in terms of daily rise in cases, with around 950 new cases reported on a single day. Since then, their government took a series of measures which ensured a flattening of the curve, resulting only in 9000 odd cases with just 131 deaths till now. Despite being in close proximity to China, it has effectively controlled the spread of Corona Virus unlike the other countries. Let us have a look at their unique approach which yielded such extraordinary results.
South Korea adopted a strategy that rested on four major pillars. The first pillar is of transparency and complete openness in sharing updated information on new infection through Korea Centre for Disease Control simultaneously with all the stakeholders including the media. The experiences of SARS-2002 and MERS-2015 came in handy and the people were well aware of the drills to be followed.
The second pillar was of containment and mitigation. As the Corona virus is highly contagious, immediately after the spread of information, all the suspected people were tracked and every confirmed case was traced and contained in a location. Mitigation involved a lowering of the peak of the outbreak through social distancing campaign introduced just after the big break of the pandemic in the Daegu region at the end of February. South Korea has managed to restrict the community spread to Daegu only, which has 85% of Korea’s cases. It also decided to close all schools and impose voluntary restrictions on large gathering. It is to be noted here that no city was put under lockdown. Thus, their containment policy was highly successful.
The third pillar was the implementation of triage and treatment system developed during MERS epidemic of 2015. In the triage system, 5 isolation hospitals were created for critical and severe cases whereas mild to moderate cases were sent to community hospitals. Hotels, gyms and residential complexes were revamped for new hospital beds. Thus, they continued to enhance their capacity and utilized their existing capacities to their help.
The fourth pillar promoted massive screening and fast tracking of suspect cases, underpinned by accelerated production of diagnostic kits with a weekly diagnostic capability of 4,30,000. It is to be noted that anyone could go for the test and the report was available by evening. This process of testing was free of cost and once any person was confirmed of the disease, the other three pillars were implemented to ensure that the virus did not spread beyond the local borders.
Thus, using these four pillars South Korea has staged an exemplary fight against the pandemic of Covid-19, despite being impacted severely in the initial stage. The Korean model is an example that many countries like Norway and even the US are trying to learn and emulate to contain the Corona virus. Thus, India with a huge population, has a chance to replicate the successful South Korean Model which seems far less drastic than a complete lockdown and prevent itself from becoming another hotspot of Covid- 19.