How South Korea Used Technology to Fight Against COVID-19 Disruptions

March 17 2020

South Korea is one of the places where the virus has slowed down its advance. This Saturday the new cases were only 107, after reaching the peak of new cases 10 days earlier with 851 cases. What is their success based on? What are they doing differently from others? The main difference: South Korea has used technology and innovation.


According to the Minister of Health: “There are two principles that we consider fundamental: the first is that openness and transparency must prevail in [citizen] participation. The second is to use creative resources and state-of-the-art technology to develop the most effective response methods”.

It is true that other countries such as China have used another strategy, that of total confinement, with a similar result when it comes to slowing down the advance of the epidemic. But South Korea's success is reflected in the economy, as they did not have to stop the country to slow down the advance of the virus as they are. It is a double success.



"The number of people in quarantine throughout the country is around 30,000, but the human resources available for local governments to supervise them are limited. The application is a support service aimed at increasing efficiency," explains the official who was in charge of the development. The aim of the app is for those in quarantine to report their symptoms to health authorities and update their status.

Each quarantined person is assigned to a local government case officer, who must monitor their progress. Regular data collection makes it possible to track their condition without mobilizing healthcare personnel, and GPS tracking ensures that each individual does not leave the assigned isolation space.


Research groups around the world are working to get the vaccine. It is a battle that unites all humanity. And as Xavier Ferras says, science today has instruments considered impossible until recently: supercomputers and artificial intelligence. Computers like Summit, considered the fastest on Earth, have began to work scanning thousands of molecular combinations that could generate a vaccine.

On the other hand, many countries have already put their industry to work to help build the equipment that the healthcare system needs to respond to the crisis. For example, the government of the UK is asking manufacturers like Rolls Royce and JCB to transform their current production lines to help produce fans to fight the virus.

Other technological initiatives are possible. Firstly, it is vital to generalize the use of the South Korea app or a similar one. In Spain, the entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky has already started working on the development of this app. Surely we will see more innovative initiatives, for example, the use of chatbots or voice assistants to decongest citizen or emergency service phones.

South Korea is the example of the country that has best known how to fight the coronavirus. And it has done so with technology. Surely if we follow their example, we will end this virus as quickly as possible and with the least economic damage.

Martí Fàbrega

Martí is a Digital Transformation Consultant and Senior Business Development Manager at SEIDOR Opentrends. His aim is to transform technology into business value for his clients, putting the greatest possible focus on innovation.