South Korea’s success in containing the coronavirus highlights importance of digital resilience

By Robert Muggah and Rafal Rohozinski

Published in South China Morning Post

One of the first countries to register a Covid-19 outbreak, South Korea, flattened the curve in stunning fashion. It registered over 22,000 cases, yet fewer than 400 deaths at the time of writing. That it reduced infections while avoiding major loss of life and without closing businesses or forcing everyone to stay at home is even more remarkable. That its gross domestic product contraction is expected to be less than 0.8 per cent (compared to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development average of around 7.5 per cent) is breathtaking.

Among the many factors contributing to the country’s success are the ways public officials, scientists and citizens collaborated to detect, contain and treat vulnerable people. Testing and health care capacities were rapidly boosted, including in hotspots like Daegu. But the secret to South Korea’s success might also reside in its digital capabilities.

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