Report 25: Response to COVID-19 in South Korea and Implications for Lifting Stringent Interventions   [open pdf - 795KB]

From the Summary: "While South Korea experienced a sharp growth in COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] cases early in the global pandemic, it has since rapidly reduced rates of infection and now maintains low numbers of daily new cases. Despite using less stringent 'lockdown' measures than other affected countries, strong social distancing measures have been advised in high incidence areas and a 38% national decrease in movement occurred voluntarily between February 24th - March 1st . Suspected and confirmed cases were isolated quickly even during the rapid expansion of the epidemic and identification of the Shincheonji cluster. South Korea swiftly scaled up testing capacity and was able to maintain case-based interventions throughout. However, individual case-based contact tracing, not associated with a specific cluster, was a relatively minor aspect of their control program, with cluster investigations accounting for a far higher proportion of cases: the underlying epidemic was driven by a series of linked clusters, with 48% of all cases in the Shincheonji cluster and 20% in other clusters. Case-based contacts currently account for only 11% of total cases. The high volume of testing and low number of deaths suggests that South Korea experienced a small epidemic of infections relative to other countries. Therefore, caution is needed in attempting to duplicate the South Korean response in settings with larger more generalized epidemics. Finding, testing and isolating cases that are linked to clusters may be more difficult in such settings."

Report Number:
Report No. 25
Imperial College London. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/]
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Imperial College London: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/
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