While the initial spread of Covid-19 in South Korea was slow, with only 30 cases being reported between 19 January and 18 February, the 10 days that followed saw the numbers skyrocket to 2,300 cases. To date, there have been more than 10,000 infections and 186 deaths.
But, unlike most other nations, South Korea managed to significantly slow the rate of new infections within the first three months of the first recorded case, which in turn reduced the impact on the economy.
South Korea’s success may be attributed to a swift and aggressive regime of mass testing and tracking those with potential infections. Within two weeks of its first case, the country was producing more than 100,000 test kits per day and has to date tested over 270,000 people.
Investec Focus interviewed His Excellency Dr Jong-Dae Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in South Africa, on South Korea’s approach to fighting the virus, the challenges it faced and lessons for other countries.