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  • Amazing! Here's What Happens When A South Korean Suspects He Has COVID-19

    The country is getting praises for how it's handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • While many countries hit with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic like China, Italy, and the Philippines, have opted for mandatory lockdowns, South Korea has managed to evade this measure by being proactive in their “test and trace” strategy. The country, which has more than 10,300 confirmed cases, has drastically slowed down the spread of the virus.

    How South Korea is flattening the curve

    It’s been said that other countries would be wise to copy what South Korea has been doing, but what exactly has the country been doing that is so different from others?

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    1. Tests are quick and efficient.

    In a video uploaded on Facebook and YouTube, a South Korean content creator named Daud Kim documented his experience when he got tested for the virus after arriving from Istanbul.

    In the video, he shows that he was immediately contacted by a health worker upon arrival and asked about his travel history and symptoms. He was also invited for testing that same day and was picked up by an ambulance when he said that he did not own a car.

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    Testing was done at a designated health center, where tents were set up outdoors. “I think the Korean medical system is very advanced,” Daud notes in the video. He introduced himself as Kim Jaehan to the health workers who were already expecting his arrival.

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    The COVID-19 test — a nasopharyngeal swab, throat swab, and sputum test — was done by a health worker wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). Then, Daud was briefed by another health worker for his next steps: he is to go under self-quarantine for 14 days and was given a self-quarantine notice that he could forward to his school or workplace. He was also given a kit containing a bottle of hand sanitizer, disinfecting water, face masks, and a thermometer.

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    Daud was also given garbage bags so he can properly dispose of his waste while on quarantine. “Call Health Center, they will pick up your garbage bags,” said the health worker.

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    Lastly, he was asked to download a “self-quarantine app,” where he is required to enter his status and body temperature every morning and evening. He was also assigned a “public officer,” who would monitor his condition. He was then brought back to his residence by an ambulance. All of these were free and shouldered by the government.

    The next morning, the public officer called him to ask if he needed relief supplies like food. Daud was also kindly reminded to keep his GPS on so they could track his whereabouts. “If the cell phone turns off we [will] think that you went outside without the cellphone. As soon as you leave your place, I can know it. If this is repeated twice the police will be dispatched. So please be careful,” the public officer said.

    Daud also got his test results the next morning, less than 24 hours since he took the test. Fortunately, it was negative, but he was still asked to complete his self-quarantine and to call the health center if he exhibited any additional symptoms.

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    2. They are doing mass and targeted testing.

    According to a report by The Guardian, the South Korean government had already anticipated the spread of COVID-19 when it emerged in Wuhan province. South Korean biotech executive Chun Jong-Yoon directed his lab to develop detection kits as early as January 16 and in a matter of days, they were able to develop detection kits that are now in high demand worldwide.

    Their country has the most expansive and well-organized testing program in the world, according to Sciencemag.org. They have tested hundreds of thousands of asymptomatic individuals, including those arriving from airports. According to estimates, South Korea is testing around 10,000 individuals daily.

    They even put-up drive-through centers to reduce close contact plus invented an app called Corona 100m, which publicly informs citizens of known COVID-19 cases within 100 meters of their current location.

    “What they decided was a combination of widespread testing along with follow-up of all positives,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee, told Healthline. “As a consequence, they were able to find infections and reduce or even abort widespread transmission.”

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    3. Returning residents and workers are well taken care of.

    In another social media post, a Pinay named Liezel Joy shared the massive “comfort package” she got from the country’s local government upon her arrival from the Philippines. Like Daud, she was also contacted by a health center to inform her about the self-quarantine procedures. Thirty minutes later, she got a surprise package.

    The package contained instant rice, coffee, and noodles, bread, bottled water, a thermometer, face masks, wet wipes, sanitizers, and disinfectants.

    In an interview with Pep.ph, Liezel, 29, shared that she is an English teacher working in Ulsan, South Korea. She says that what she received is called a “Korean Comfort Package,” and they give it to residents and workers coming from overseas.

    “Wala silang pili. Lahat ng medical supplies, test kits, free,” she adds. “Hatid pa kami sa bahay limousine bus for free."

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    What are other countries doing to flatten the curve? Click here to see how the lockdowns in China and Italy are like.

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