Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider measures to reduce food waste in the light of changing habits
Living sustainably

COVID-19 has strained food producers and distributors (e.g. disrupted food supply chains, problematized crop harvesting, impacted logistics and distribution), and this has impacted the amount of food waste created in the supply chain. COVID-19 has also changed household food waste creation by affecting household income, shopping habits and consumption patterns. The implications are broad. For example, the real cost of food has increased for some vulnerable households, who must purchase from supermarkets that will deliver rather than shop at their usual 'cheaper' shops. Food waste has become an important concern for organisations and households, and some countries are taking strong action. Consider:

  • Charge businesses and families that waste food (such as in South Korea, where the proportion of recycling food increased from 2% to 95% in 2009)
  • Strengthen partnerships between food producers and distributors and local food initiatives
  • Develop local agriculture and growing food in and around cities, e.g. Singapore identified unused spaces in its cities to create urban farms to address supply chain issues cause by COVID-19
  • Partner with local volunteer initiatives that tackle food poverty and food waste:
    • Ensure voluntary food distribution groups have the necessary equipment to store nutritious food and distribute that to the community
    • Set up community fridges, e.g. local parishes or town halls to support local groups
    • To ensure food that is not fit for consumption is recycled appropriately
    • Support groups in the collection, transportation and redistribution of food
  • Educate households on:
    • How to store food safely after purchasing
    • Safe ways to store and re-use leftovers
    • How to correctly recycle food waste
    • Recipes on for using leftover ingredients
    • How to safely donate excess food
    • How to interpret food labels correctly
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Consider how candidates can run safe election campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic
Governance systems

Conventional campaigning tactics, such as door-to-door visits and town hall meetings to connect and talk to constituents, are not currently possible in many countries due to COVID-19 guidelines and concerns over risk of virus transmission. Clear guidelines that have the agreement of major parties are needed to ensure appropriate electioneering keeps election candidates and voters safe. Consider the need to:

  • Develop an agreement between major political parties on the rules they commit to follow to ensure the safety of their election campaigns
  • Identify alternative campaigning methods that are appropriate, such as:
    • Increased use of telephone and postal campaigning
    • Online platforms to support webinars and online town hall meetings with candidates to interact with voters
    • Increased involvement of volunteer helpers in constituencies
  • Identify campaigning methods that are not appropriate, for example:
    • Driving voters to voting booths
    • In-person public appearances in places where crowds may then gather
  • Appoint an arbitrator to advise on the adherence to agreed rules and the appropriateness of campaigning methods
  • Consider how positive and negative campaigning may affect public mood at an already stressful time
  • Communicate rules to campaign offices well in advance to allow preparation
  • Communicate the campaign rules to the public
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Consider how to develop and disseminate learning from COVID-19 at local level
Learning lessons

Formal learning from COVID-19 is beginning to take place at national and international levels, to capture rapid dissemination of information and lessons. Similar approaches at local government levels are identifying emerging trends in response and identifying gaps and opportunities for the future e.g. The Ney report on Local COVID-19 outbreaks: Lessons learnt and good practice from Leicestershire’s experiences of responding to a local surge in COVID-19 cases. Consider:

  • Learning can capture information in cities or regions
  • Learning can be undertaken by individual local governments or a consortium through mechanisms such as peer review (see ISO 22392)
  • Lessons may be disseminated within a single locale or more widely. The may be between cities or regions or internationally with organisations such as the Global Resilient Cities Network

We provide a few examples of formalised international learning and the key issues addressed to provide consideration for similar pieces of work at local level.

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Consider developments to internet infrastructure and Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies to offer safe and secure connections
Telecommunications and digital

In Korea the following processes have been put in place for civil servants and these lessons could be expanded to other organisations:

Expand systems and optimizing resource

  • Expanding the number of VPN licenses from 24,000 to 40,000, an increase of 16,000
  • Optimizing load distribution methods to manage web server traffic
  • Increasing the maximum network capacity (national information telecom networks and VPN broadband from 1G to 4G)

Support VPN use among employees working from home

  • Distributing signup guidelines, user manuals, and FAQs
  • Training for using VPN via video conference for workers, especially those in government institutions to improve security of sensitive information
  • Workers who work from home have call centres available from 9 am to 6 pm (including at the weekend)

Monitor the daily system

  • Monitoring trends in number of subscribers, usage traffic, simultaneous log-ins, and networks e.g. Personal Area Network (PAN), Local Area Network (LAN), Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) etc
  • Monitoring heavy traffic hours with the highest number of people logged onto the internet simultaneously (between 8 am and 10 am)
  • Focused monitoring every 10 minutes
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Consider Test, Trace, Track: Lessons from Korea
Public health

A number of track and trace mechanisms to support treatment have been credited with supporting the response in Korea[1]. These include: Self-diagnosis Apps for in-bound travellers; the self-quarantine Safety APP; contact tracing and epidemiological investigations.

Self-diagnosis Apps for in-bound travellers

This self-diagnosis mobile application has been available to in-bound travellers at airports and harbours. The apps:

  • Have been developed by the government to monitor symptoms of inbound travellers and provide them with prompt medical advice.
  • Are downloaded onto a mobile device and:
    • Is required at entry by all inbound travellers since 1st April 2020.
    • Is available through the URL and QR codes available around the airport or harbour immigration gates and on special arrival cards.
  • Require the in-bound traveller to:
    • Install the app and use it to submit passport information, nationality, name, address and other necessary information for quarantine.
    • Connect directly to a call centre and social media channels and provides medical answers against suspected symptoms to enable early treatment.
    • Report their health condition (body temperature, cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing) through the application once a day during their 14 days of quarantine.
    • Seek medical advice if they are showing symptoms. This can be done through call centres operated by the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), or at COVID-19 screening centres.
  • Collect data entered by the user during the self-diagnosis which:
    • Is checked against immigration data before being sent to the public health clinics under jurisdiction of local governments.
    • Is transferred to local governments so that the corresponding public health clinics can provide medical advice, testing and instructions on how to receive care. This is done for travellers reporting symptoms for more than 2 days.

Self-quarantine Safety APP

This is a voluntary application for residents of Korea. The app:

  • Has three functions to:
    • Conduct a self-diagnosis for the users to conduct and submit the results with the assigned government officers
    • Provide necessary information including self-quarantine guidelines and the contact info of the assigned government case officers.
    • Ensure that self-quarantine orders are kept by setting off a GPS-based location tracking alarm whenever a user ventures out from the designated quarantine area - to prevent possible violation of orders. A case officer is also notified when quarantine is disobeyed; the case officer takes appropriate measures to have the subject return to the quarantine area.
  • Has two types of application available:
    • One for the users under self-quarantine – they use the application twice a day to monitor themselves for four symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, and respiratory difficulties.
    • One for the assigned government case officers – once submitted, the self-diagnostic data will automatically be shared with an assigned case officer, who will be notified if the user does not submit the self-diagnostic data or becomes symptomatic.
  • Has been effective in monitoring those under self-quarantine and making sure that they stay in designated locations. The alarm function of the application has demonstrated to encourage the quarantined to follow regulations.

Contact tracing and epidemiological investigations

The COVID-19 Data Platform supports investigators as they trace infected people. The app:

  • Is designed to:
    • Support epidemiological surveyors to quickly identify the transmission routes and places that the infected person has visited
    • Use real-time analysis of data through location tracking, card transactions, and CCTV recordings for accurate tracing of routes and places
  • Takes users through a process of using the app as:
    • Citizens voluntarily record their whereabouts on their smartphones using Google Timeline
    • Using a ‘My Timeline’ function on Google Map application, the user whereabouts and routes are recorded automatically.
    • Data on Google Timeline can be captured as screenshots and shared with epidemiological investigators, who will use the data to trace contacts and patient routes.
  • Supports health officials in:
    • Confirming the interview results of patient transmission routes with data on the system.
    • Allowing big data analysis from real-time data feeds on COVID-19 patients, including their whereabouts and the time spent on each location.
    • Using these multiple data points, so that the system can detect incidents of cluster infection and show the source of transmission.
    • Enabling prompt data-driven COVID-19 epidemiological investigations.

Further details on the apps are available[2],[3].


[1] Flattening the curve on COVID-19: How Korea responded to a pandemic using ICT



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Consider the impacts of COVID-19 on LGBT+ people
Vulnerable people

LGTBIQ+ people have a number of vulnerabilities. Consider:

  • LGBTIQ+ people are less likely to have safe homes and are at a higher risk of homelessness (especially young people) and are at a high risk of domestic abuse
  • The impacts of losing safe community spaces and the additional mental health impacts of this
  • The complications with access to healthcare which can be especially hard for trans people who have specific medical needs
  • The use of test, track and trace facilities for this vulnerable group. In South Korea a new wave of infections have been attributed to 3,000 people attending clubs that accommodated the LGBTIQ+ community. But only half of people in attendance have gone for testing, due to fears that doing so would reveal their sexuality. Confidence in personal safety and confidentiality is paramount in track, trace and treat processes
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Consider how to develop successful contact tracing and epidemiological investigations
Health systems

In Korea, the COVID-19 Data Platform is:

Designed to:

  • Support epidemiological analysts to quickly identify the transmission routes and places that an infected person has visited
  • Use real-time analysis of data through location tracking, card transactions, and CCTV recordings for accurate tracing of routes and places

The process of using the app is:

  • Citizens voluntarily record their whereabouts on their smartphones using Google Timeline
  • The 'My Timeline' function on the Google Maps automatically records the users location and routes
  • Data on Google Timeline can be captured as screenshots and shared with epidemiological investigators, who will use the data to trace contacts

The platform supports health officials to:

  • Confirm the interview results of patient transmission routes with data on the system
  • Allow big data analysis from real-time data feeds on COVID-19 patients, including their whereabouts and the time spent on each location
  • Use these multiple data points to detect incidents of cluster infection and transmission sources for prompt
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Consider how information systems can help process delivery, avoid delivery bottlenecks to provide timely and relevant information
Telecommunications and digital

In Korea, The Cellular Broadcasting Service enables government agencies to transmit text messages to cell phones through mobile telecom carriers in Korea. This service is particularly useful during an emergency but also builds resilience into the system for the future.

Metropolitan and local governments in Korea are equipped with a system that can send messages to their residents without having to receive approval from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS). This allows them to make their own locally relevant decisions.

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