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Coronavirus outbreak: South Korea, China back on their feet

NEW DELHI: On a day Saarc leaders met virtually to discuss ways to confront the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea on Sunday offered to share its experience in successfully combating the virus to other countries battling Covid-19.

South Korean President Moon Jae-suggested that a similar G-20 summit be convened so that it can share its findings.

With the outbreak’s epicentre shifting to Europe, S Korea’s lessons could help countries like Italy that report hundreds of deaths on a daily basis. Soon after the first wave of cases surfaced, Seoul decided to go in for extensive testing of citizens to understand the extent of the outbreak.

According to reports, 2 lakh people were tested in a few weeks. It also tracked down potential carriers by retracing the movements of those who tested positive.

The country also offered easy access to tests, which included 50 drive-through testing locations, mobile facilities and door-to-door visits. Tests were also done in cars to lower risks by minimising physical contact. South Korea has 8,162 confirmed cases so far but only 75 deaths have been reported as on Sunday. The country’s daily toll figures stayed in single digits.

China is also slowly getting back on its feet with the number of deaths coming down from a peak of 150 on February 23 to 10 on Saturday. That’s remarkable progress for a country which less than a month ago was fighting an impossible battle against Covid-19. Slowly, people are getting back to work, according to a survey by Alibaba-owned Gaode, an online mapping and traffic monitoring service.