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WHO hails 4 of nation's responses to COVID-19 pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named Korea's public-private partnership testing system, home-based treatment, universal health coverage and subsidies for living expenses for confirmed cases as benchmarks in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA) on March 18 sent out a news release citing the WHO report "Learnings from COVID-19 for future respiratory pathogen pandemic preparedness."

Released on March 7, the report presented nine lessons in six areas: collaborative surveillance, emergency coordination, clinical care, access to countermeasures, community protection, and collaborative learning and accountability.

Korea was recognized as an example in four lessons in collaborative surveillance, clinical care and community protection.

WHO praised the country's integration of public and private health care testing systems in collaborative surveillance and provision of beds for critically ill patients, use of home care and free treatment regardless of nationality in clinical care.

Korea's universal health insurance, free COVID-19 treatment extending to foreign nationals, and payment of living expenses and a paid leave system for confirmed cases during the pandemic were also cited as benchmarks in community protection.

"Based on WHO's recognition of our country as a benchmark, we will further strengthen our quarantine capacity and fully prepare for the threat of another infectious disease," KDCA Commissioner Jee Youngmee said.

"We will also play a leading role in global cooperation in health security through the Global Health Security Coordination Office opened in Korea last year and the WHO Pandemic Preparedness and Response Collaborating Center slated for designation this year."

By Kim Seon Ah