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The secret to South Korea’s COVID success? Combining high technology with the human touch


According to the recent House of Commons report on the UK’s pandemic response, one of the government’s key failings was to assume that the success of countries like South Korea in controlling the virus couldn’t be replicated in Britain. This decision to ignore approaches that were proving successful elsewhere was one of the UK’s biggest oversights early in the pandemic.

However, the report itself falls into a similar trap. It regards South Korea’s pandemic response as exceptional due to its advanced use of digital technology, ignoring the fact that the country also relied a lot on old-fashioned social interventions – contact tracing, quarantine and isolating cases – aided by boots on the ground.

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