S. Korea aggressively promotes its disease prevention model to international community

Posted on : 2020-03-17 18:17 KST Modified on : 2020-03-17 18:23 KST
Moon proposes holding special G20 video conference on COVD-19 countermeasures
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha explains South Korea’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak during an interview with the BBC on Mar. 15.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha explains South Korea’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak during an interview with the BBC on Mar. 15.

As the novel coronavirus spreads around the world, the South Korean government is aggressively promoting its model of disease control, which has sparked considerable international interest. In addition to a meeting of foreign ministers and an interview with foreign media outlets, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed holding a video conference with the leaders of the G20 countries.

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Mar. 16 that the foreign ministers of six countries — South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Australia, and Canada — had held a 70-minute teleconference to discuss countermeasures against the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on the evening of Mar. 15. The meeting was proposed by Canada.

MOFA explained that Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha provided a detailed explanation of South Korea’s approach to fighting the outbreak, which includes drive-through testing, the transparent release of information and quick diagnoses. Drive-through testing in particular has rapidly emerged as a global model of disease control, since it reduces the risk of viral transmission and accelerates the speed of testing.

When US President Donald Trump announced a national emergency on Mar. 13, he promised to introduce drive-through testing. European countries including the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark are already operating drive-through screening centers. A Blue House official told reporters during a meeting on Monday that the drive-through approach “is becoming the international standard.”

Foreign diplomats gather at Incheon International Airport on Mar. 13 to observe South Korea’s temperature checks and other preventative measures to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap News)
Foreign diplomats gather at Incheon International Airport on Mar. 13 to observe South Korea’s temperature checks and other preventative measures to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap News)

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha summarized the South Korean government’s approach to COVID-19 during an appearance on the BBC on Mar. 15. “By quickly diagnosing COVID-19, we’ve been able to minimize its spread and provide quick treatment, and that’s kept the mortality rate low. I hope that South Korea’s experience and approach will not only benefit other countries but also lead to greater international cooperation on preparing for the next [viral outbreak],” she said. Following the broadcast, viewers tweeted their interest in and approval of the South Korean government’s quick testing and action.

Moon said that one objective of the special G20 video conference he’s pitched is sharing South Korea’s approach to dealing with the outbreak to interested countries. “More fundamentally, however, there needs to be international cooperation so that each country can revive their economies and manage this crisis,” the president added.

By Kim So-youn, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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