South Korea’s ground-breaking coronavirus prevention method praised by WHO chief

Dr Margaret Harris of the World Health Organisation told Katya Adler on BBC Radio 5 Live politics South Korea had made “dramatic” changes to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. She explained citizens are sent a text message from the Government when a new case has been confirmed in addition to information regarding where the individual has recently been and what they did. She added this better allows the public to know if they are at risk of contracting the disease and can need to be tested for it.

Ms Harris said: “The thresholds for testing should be, have you got a clear link, are you in a vulnerable group, do you have symptoms or do you know you have been exposed.

“In South Korea, they have actually put out information every time they have a new coronavirus case.

“They put out an SMS text message to everybody saying this is where the person was, where they went and what they did.

“This at least gives people some information about where they have been.”

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Ms Harris then reflected on the changes South Korea had made in dealing with a health crisis since the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

She said: “Interestingly, South Korea have changed their tactics drastically from their previous big outbreak of MERS.

“They were not open with information during the MERS epidemic.

“At the World Health Organisation that was one of the things we identified as a problem, that lack of clear information about where cases are and whether you are one of the people that could have been exposed.

“That is a really important part of risk communication.”

Countries around the globe have been taking different measures to protect citizens from the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised for not yet implementing more severe tactics to curb the surge in coronavirus in the UK.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday admitted the UK only has 5,000 ventilators and would need “many more times that number” to deal with coronavirus sufferers in hospitals.

He added UK manufacturers should switch to making ventilators and insisted Government would be prepared to buy them as “no number is too many.”

At the time of writing the UK has confirmed over 1,372 cases of coronavirus across the country.

35 people have reportedly died from the disease while at least 19 people in total have recovered.

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