UPDATE : Monday, May 25, 2020
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US asks about Korea’s COVID-19 containment know-how
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2020.03.09 15:11
  • Updated 2020.03.09 16:52
  • comments 0

The Ministry of Science and ICT said that the U.S. government has asked the Korean government about the know-how in operating a coronavirus drive-through testing station.

(Top left) A drive-through screening facility in Sejong City. (Credit: Sejong City’s Facebook page)
(Top right and below) Examiners offer a medical questionnaire, check on a suspected patient, and collect samples for the new coronavirus testing in Goyang, just north of Seoul. (Credit: Goyang City)

"It appears that the U.S. administration has viewed that our method of rapidly testing suspected COVID-19 cases to reduce the risk of infection," the ministry said.

Minister of Science and ICT Choi Ki-young held a conference call on Friday with Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on COVID-19 response aimed at sharing information on the infectious disease and seeking joint solutions.

During the meeting, which was requested by the White House, Choi explained Korea’s countermeasures, such as a drive-through mobile clinic, which allows patients to receive check-ups in their cars, and an app that shows whether patients are successfully carrying out their self-containment.

A growing number of local governments here are launching the roadside testing facilities as the demand for COVID checkup soared, increasing waiting time and raising the risk of infection. Such clinics are known to be highly efficient as they require no negative room pressure facilities, sanitization or ventilation facilities as they are installed outdoors.

The entire process, which comprises of various medical examinations, such as heat detection and extraction of samples, takes only about 10 minutes compared to the 30 minutes required at hospitals. As of Monday, there are 50 drive-through clinics operated in Korea.

As the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is a policy department under the U.S. President's Office, experts here believe that there is a possibility that the U.S. will adopt the drive-through clinic system soon.

In America, COVID-19 infection is rising rapidly, especially in the states of New York and Washington, with more than 400 people infected nationally.

Other countries have also expressed intentions to set up such facilities.

According to a German media outlet, four German doctors recently established a drive-through screening clinic in Marburg, Hessen.

"Anyone who has been in a risk area or has had contact with coronavirus-infected people have only to stay seated in the car in the parking lot," Hit Radio FFH, a German radio station, reported. "The doctors in protective clothing then take the samples from the potential patients.

The report added that the doctors were inspired by the reports of a similar system in Korea.

Regarding the self-containment app, the program uses a global positioning system (GPS) that alerts health officials when a patient leaves the quarantine, allowing medical workers to respond immediately.


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