The South Korean election and the way it tackled COVID-19 is a myth many countries, find too good to be true. In the absence of proper vaccination, testing and isolation are the best measures a nation has against the spread of a pandemic. With the Coronavirus outbreak ravaging the world, most countries have resolved to these measures. But, as of April 2020, the pandemic has spread to most parts of the world and has shown little signs of being under control.
While the world struggles to keep the outbreak under check, one nation has succeeded in curbing the growth in its number of cases. South Korea, has indeed “flattened the curve”. The country’s success in the process has been so effective that the South Korean presidential election was hosted amidst the pandemic. Necessary measures were taken so that the voters are not affected in the process. Let us take a look at the country’s preparation for the election and how the rest of the world can learn from it.
South Korean election and Coronavirus: Background
South Korea had been preparing for a pandemic ever since the MERS outbreak in the country way back in 2015. The country faced about 180 cases before the government declared an end to the outbreak. The country was quick to learn from this outbreak and when the Coronavirus broke out, the preventive measure was ready to be implemented.
The first case of Coronavirus was recorded in late December 2019 and by the end of January South Korea had recorded 31 cases. Since then the number has increased significantly for both the world and the country. As of April 2020, millions of cases have been reported worldwide and with an unfortunately large death toll. South Korea has recorded about 10000 cases so far with a death toll of 237.
By the mid of February, South Korea was leading the world in the number of Coronavirus cases. About 3000 confirmed cases had been reported by February with the number of cases per day reaching a staggering 909. Everything seemed gloomy for the nation until the government took the necessary steps.
By April, the number of cases per day was around 70 and the South Korean presidential elections had successfully taken place. The government reported that there was no requirement for lockdown and the country was gradually returning to normalcy. So what did South Korea do?
The measures during the South korean election
The measures taken by South Korea could very well act as Coronavirus tips for the rest of the world. Firstly, the nation was rigorous in its testing. The government implemented the “trace and test” strategy and at its peak, about 15,000 tests were conducted per day. At the very beginning of the outbreak, the government was quick to partner with labs and develop effective testing kits. Before long, thousands of these kits were ready for the public.
The country had numerous testing centers setup including drive-through testing centers. These centers were capable of generating the report within 24-hours. Additionally, travelers were mandated to undergo a quarantine of 2-weeks. For each individual who tested positive, the centers tracked down his/her movements and tested every individual who came in contact.
The government was also aided since the citizens chose national health over privacy. Infected individuals were quick to let the government trace their movements in the prior days to curb the spread. Additionally, mobile applications were developed which alerted the citizens if any confirmed case was located near their area. Citizens actively avoided these contaminated places and were persistent in the use of protective gear.
When the South Korean presidential elections arrived it posed a new challenge for the government and the medical fraternity. But the nation was ready for the challenge. Before the elections, mass testing had been conducted by South Korea. On the days of voting, measures were implemented with much more persistence.
Voters were encouraged to maintain social distancing. At each polling station, each voter had their temperatures checked. The ones who recorded a higher temperature were instructed to cast their votes at a separate booth. These separate booths were also prepared for the challenge. After each voter had cast his/her vote, the booth was thoroughly sprayed with disinfectant. The front line workers provided dedicated service throughout the voting process to ensure that the spread of the virus is kept under check.
These effective measures saw a successful South Korean presidential election whilst ensuring that the country indeed “flattened the curve”. South Korea had set an example for the rest of the world and established a role model in the fight against the Coronavirus.
Aftermath of the South Korean Election
After the South Korean presidential election had taken place, it was reported that the elections had witnessed a turnout of 66.2%.
The South Korea election results declared the governing party under the leadership of President Moon Jae-in victorious, securing a stunning 180 seats of the 300 in the National Assembly.
The victory was attributed to the government’s impressive and effective performance in curbing the spread of the outbreak. Through a televised speech, the president assured the citizens that the necessary measure will be taken to fight the virus in the upcoming days further and rescue the nation from the economic hardships the outbreak has brought upon.
The South Korea election results remind the world that electing the right government will ensure that effective work will be done to power the nation forward. The nation has no doubt set an example for the rest of the world.
Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong were quick to follow South Korea’s footsteps and conduct mass testing. Recently, Germany and the United Kingdom have mandated mass testing as well, with even the United States trying to follow the footsteps. Most governments have been criticized for their failure to prepare for a pandemic while South Korea’s efforts have been deemed as a guiding light in the fight.
South Korea, like the rest of the world, faces the threat of a second wave of the Coronavirus outbreak. The country is actively making efforts to be prepared for the situation whilst also trying to develop a vaccine like the rest of the world. It will be some time before the virus is completely eradicated. Until then not only governments but citizens as well can follow the footsteps of South Korea and just survive.
To know more about corona safety, do read this article to know more.