Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider how democratic elections can still take place
Governance systems

Korea held an election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government ensured a number of voting rights for:

  • Confirmed COVID-19 patients
  • Those who were subject to movement restrictions and became infected with the virus after the registration period expired
  • Those who came into contact with self-quarantined persons and were also quarantined
  • Overseas arrivals who were subject to movement restrictions up until Election Day on April 15 2020

Officials' actions included:

  • Texting eligible voters in self-quarantine before the vote - about 13,000 affirmed they wanted to participate
  • Marking a metre of social distancing space to ballot booths from nearby streets
  • Giving permission to those without fever or respiratory symptoms to leave their homes so they could cast their ballots after 6pm, when polling stations closed for other voters
  • Escorting voters and monitoring COVID-19 positive voters through tracking apps
  • Providing masks to poll workers
  • Checking temperatures of voters on arrival and moving anyone with a fever or not wearing a mask to separate areas to vote
  • Sanitising the facilities after voters
  • Providing voters who pass the fever screening with sanitising gel and disposable plastic gloves before entering a voting booth
  • Encouraging voting via mail for hospital patients or those who were under two-week quarantine
  • Organising an early voting period for those who were mildly ill - 400 people cast their votes at temporary booths
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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 develop a dedicated taskforce to stabilise the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Supply chain and logistics

In Korea, specific measures were taken to stabilise the supply of face masks in particular. The government developed an emergency joint meeting of relevant ministries and a joint inspection team to conduct daily inspections and to handle reports on unfair sales of masks.

  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance set up its own taskforce, independent of the joint government inspection team, to inspect the mask supply chain
  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance formed a 64-person taskforce within a day. They visited: manufacturing companies to listen to their difficulties; stores authorized to sell masks; factories, and the distribution hubs to inspect the situation on production and distribution, and difficulties in the supply and demand of raw materials
  • The taskforce inspected 751 sites from February 28 to March 9, and allowed the onsite inputs to be appropriately reflected in policies which ultimately stabilised supply
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Consider environmentally-friendly strategies that can support job creation
Environmental health

This could include:

  • Retrofitting programmes to make buildings more energy-efficient
  • Mass tree planting
  • Investment in solar and wind power
  • Building infrastructure required for increased consumption and use of electric cars such as improved electricity networks, and public and personal capacity for charging stations

Additionally, due to lockdown these measures may not be as disruptive to people's daily lives compared to, for example, offices being retrofitted while in constant use.

This lesson was conributed to by Chief Resilience Officers in Italy and Australia during project data collection, along with the source link below.

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  • Australia, Italy

Consider support for small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to help regenerate the economy and livelihoods
Business regeneration and rejuvenation

In Korea, SMEs are being supported through national campaigns. Consumers are encouraged to purchase local products through drive-through stations. This supports local vendors selling their products direct to the consumer, and helps consumers who may be able to purchase items at lower prices due to lower overhead costs.

Corporate buyers are supported by government through virtual meetings to match buyers to supplier SMEs, in consultation with the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency and Korea International Trade Association. The government will hold virtual consultations online for 400 SMEs at least twice a month (total of 10 times), over the period of 4 months (April to July 2020). The government will invite 30-40 buyers from abroad and 30-50 SMEs per session to match corporate buyers to Korean SME providers. The government will also provide consultation and follow up measures.

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Consider if 'Disaster Resilience Scorecard' is helpful for recovery planning
Planning for recovery

Local government should assess the 'Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Public Health' and whether it is helpful to their recovery planning for Covid-19. The assessment should consider its attributes for providing holistic needs assessments through its multi-sectoral rapid assessments for recovery.

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Consider strategies to tackle spikes in gender based violence
Public protection
Vulnerable people

Local government should identify strategies to tackle spikes in gender based violence as a result of isolation, social distancing and quarantine measures. They should consider requirements for increased social and legal support for elongated/reoccurring lockdowns, and holistic partnerships with the voluntary sector to support and protect those at risk and educate both men and women.

References: Professor from the International Center for Collaborative Research on Disaster Risk Reduction; Hospital Executive; Chief Resilience Officer; UK Local Resilience Forum

Source link(s):
  • China, Korea, Republic of, Italy, United Kingdom