Searching for Digital Technologies in Containment and Mitigation Strategies: Experience from South Korea COVID-19

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Background: Korea has achieved health policy objectives in pandemic management so far, namely minimizing mortality, flattening the epidemic curve, and limiting the socio-economic burden of its measures. The key to the Korean government's success in combating COVID-19 lies with the latest digital technologies (DTs). The prompt and effective application of DTs facilitates both containment as well as mitigation strategies and their sub-policy measures. Methods: This article uses an experiential analysis based on an exploratory case study - analysis on field applications of the government's interventions. Information is collected by qualitative methods such as literature analysis, meeting materials, and a review of various government reports (including internal ones) along with academic and professional experiences of the authors. Findings: The article presents the unique Korean health policy approaches in the COVID-19 crisis. First, DTs allow the Korean government to embrace various policy measures together listed in containment strategy, namely altering and warning, epidemiological investigation, quarantine of contacts, case-finding, social distancing, and mask-wearing. Second, DTs allow Korea to integrate containment and mitigation strategies simultaneously. Along with the above measures in containment, healthcare service, medical treatment, and prophylaxis (presymptomatic testing) within mitigation are utilized to prevent a COVID-19 spread. Conclusions: Korea develops DTs in an integrated manner in the early pandemic stage under strong and coordinated government leadership. Above all, the DTs' functions in each pandemic developmental stage are continuously upgraded. Instead of prioritizing policy measures or strategies, therefore, Korea can implement diverse policies simultaneously by integrating DTs effectively. During the COVID-19 outbreak, DTs work as the enablers to connect these two strategies and their measures in Korea. Recommendations: DTs should be at the center of the disaster management paradigm, especially during a pandemic. DTs are facilitators and integrators of containing and mitigating strategies and their policy measures.
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ANNALS OF GLOBAL HEALTH, v.86, no.1, pp.109

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RIMS Journal Papers
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