• 최종편집 2020-09-22(화)

Some special stories about COVID-19 outbreak in Korea

Let's work together with foreign residents to stop the corona virus

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기사입력 : 2020.03.17 15:17
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WHO commends Korea's response to COVID-19 outbreak

By Oh Hyun-woo and Kim Minji


The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded Korea's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, while warning that the threat of a pandemic "has become very real." 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on March 9 told a news conference at his organization's headquarters in Geneva that COVID-19 will be the first pandemic in history "that could be controlled." 

He added that Korea and Singapore are models demonstrating effective measures to contain the outbreak like closing schools and canceling mass gatherings.

"The Republic of Korea has increased efforts to identify all cases and contacts, including drive-through temperature testing to widen the net and catch cases that might otherwise be missed," he said.

"Of the four countries with the most cases, China is bringing its epidemic under control and there is now a decline in new cases being reported from the Republic of Korea. Both these countries demonstrate that it's never too late to turn back the tide on this virus."

"The rule of the game is never give up," he said, adding, "We continue to call on all countries to take early and aggressive action to protect their people and save lives."

Gov't reports success in slowing COVID-19 outbreak
By Kim Young Deok and Kim Minji

"We are seeing success in our efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Korea is creating a new system to respond to the infectious disease."

So said Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Gang-lip, who is also deputy director of the Central Epidemic Control Countermeasure Headquarters under the Korean Centers for Disease Control, on March 9 at a joint government briefing with 44 foreign media outlets attending on the nation's response to COVID-19 at the Foreign Press Center in Seoul.

The official said the government's new response system provides information transparently and rapidly, makes full use of advanced information technology, conducts diagnostic testing faster than any other country, and has highly trained and outstanding medical professionals and top-notch medical institutions.

"The travel histories of confirmed patients are being made public and briefings are being conducted twice a day," he said, citing 50 drive-through screening clinics where a medical examination, heat detection and sample extraction take just ten minutes while people remain seated in their vehicles. He added that Korea is capable of processing up to 15,000 diagnostic tests a day.

"The world now faces a common threat, COVID-19. Close collaboration through solidarity will enable us to defeat our common enemy," he said, adding, “Korea, as a member of the global community, will share its experience and knowledge with the rest of the world."

At a Q&A session, health officials evaluated the government's preemptive measures for successful prevention of the disease.

"Cooperation with civic groups was led by the government," said Kim Yeon-jae, an infectious disease specialist at the Center for Infectious Disease of the National Medical Center, adding, "We saw the participation of a large number of medical experts, and were able to jointly evaluate with the private group, quickly assess the diagnosis kits and distribute them fast."

Start of school year delayed
By Park Hye Ri and Lee Jihae

The start of the academic year for preschools and elementary, middle and high schools will be further delayed to March 23 amid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hae on March 2 at Government Complex-Seoul announced the government's policy toward educational management and support in response to COVID-19. To protect students against the outbreak, schools nationwide will postpone the beginning of the academic year for two more weeks to March 23.

"The two weeks are crucial to curb the spread of COVID-19. We need at least one more week to evaluate whether the environment is safe enough for students to carry out their scholastic activities," she said.

The ministry also announced measures to supplement education for students and make up for the delay in the start of the academic year.

To compensate for time lost during school closures, the public education offices of cities and provinces will cooperate with schools to provide in this month's first week free digital textbooks and online educational content. From the second week, they will open academic platforms in online scholastic communities and social media to give out assignments and scholastic feedback.

The ministry will carry out additional surveys on preschool and elementary school students who urgently need babysitters. To enable parents to care for their own children, relevant government branches such as the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family are boosting cooperation to actively support flexible work hours and time off.

The Ministry of Education also advised universities to offer online classes to students in lieu of regular classes. Colleges nationwide will hold online courses and receive government support for scholastic management for the first semester of the year.
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