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South Korea Reports No New Domestic COVID-19 Cases

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has reported no new cases of coronavirus in South Korea for the first time since February, making the South-East Asian nation the first genuine success story in the fight against the global pandemic.

South Korea was one of the first countries to confirm cases of the coronavirus and was reporting hundreds of new daily cases towards the end of February and the beginning of March , but have been incredibly effective in their attempts to flatten their curve, reporting fewer and fewer cases in recent weeks to the point where they can now proudly boast to have contained the spread of the virus completely within their own borders.

The KCDC did, however, report four new cases on Thursday. They were all imported, according to The Guardian and the national tally of confirmed COVID-19 currently stands at 10,765, with the death toll rising by one to 247.

A recipe for success

From the earliest days of the outbreak, The Essential Millennial has championed South Korea’s approach to tackling the virus, specifically with regards to their massive testing drive, where expansive testing, contact tracing and quarantining have proved successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country. South Korea has only been able to tackle the virus effectively because it is not “shooting in the dark” like other nations. They have been able to test, trace and contain, minimising the risk of spreading the disease from the people that health authorities know have been infected, with a high degree of certainty.

It certainly helps that South Korea has a complex, advanced universal healthcare system and that its population has been compliant in its strict quarantine measures and hygiene protocols, but their actions nonetheless still deserve the utmost praise and should serve as an example to the rest of the world, especially developed countries that have similar healthcare systems. Not every country is the same, but we have a lot to learn from the Korean government and the KCDC.

South Korea eased some social distancing restrictions last week, and the country today announced no new local transmissions (Source: BBC)

Confidence in the system

Korea has been so successful in its tackling of the coronavirus outbreak that it has been able to gradually lift social distancing measures and has even effectively pulled off the mass gathering of a parliamentary election two weeks ago.

“Twenty-nine million voters participated in the 15 April parliamentary election … Not one case related to the election has been reported during the 14 days of incubation period,” Yoon Tae-ho, director general for public health policy, told a briefing, as reported by The Guardian.

Staff and voters alike assisted in disinfecting voting stations around the country in a commendable act of national camaraderie. Voters were also compliant with measures put in place to maintain a safe distance of 1m apart in order to avoid an unnecessary spread while waiting in line to vote. And all reported cases of recovered patients that contracted the virus again have now been found to have been false positives that arose due to technical limits of PCR testing.

In fact, the country and its people have been so brilliant in their collective efforts that the country is easing social distancing measures for upcoming public holidays (Buddha’s birthday on Thursday, May Day on Friday and Children’s Day next Tuesday) to the extent that people will be permitted to travel around the country to visit relatives and celebrate.

scenes from a park by the Han River in Seoul, as people celebrate a national holiday. (Source: BBC)
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