Germany bets on S Korean model in virus fightback

By Mathieu FOULKES

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Test, trace. confine. Socially distance, ration masks to prevent hoarding.

All office staff working from home. Be calm and patient.

It's a bark but necessary.

I wish I could follow these rules rigidly but I have failed occasionally. I miss my weekend cocktails with friends

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Germany is conducting 300,000 to 500,000 tests per week.

Meanwhile in Japan they have tested only 28,760 since early January (hence the low number of 'reported' infections in Japan)... source:

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Korean population. 53,000,000

They have not but a fraction of heir people.

If Germany thinks testing up to 500,000 a week will work...well do the math. 2,000,000 a month. Would take Korea ...well...over 2 years to test everyone.

Testing numbers should be a million a week, not 1/4 if you really want real data.

Ain’t gonna happen.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Germany should copy Japan model. There are only 1800+ cases in Japan so what the Japanese government is doing seems to be working. Like planning and delaying the Olympics, announcing 8000+ tests per day but not doing it, and urging people to stay at home even though it's raining and snowing. Perfect model.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Germany is testing more than other countries (possible because German healthcare is a decentralized, mixed model), so the case fatality rates are naturally much lower than in other countries. The infection fatality rate is probably the same everywhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

people are dying here. Who cares about which countries it is. If it works , just do it , copy it , follow it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )


Germany should copy Japan model. There are only 1800+ cases in Japan so what the Japanese government is doing seems to be working.

Since Japan is not testing, nobody KNOWS what the infection rate is here.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

You will shoo away Abe!!

Stop calling it a s-korean model!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

More testing? Okay. The tracking system model? No, thanks. All this praising for South Korea was fishy from the beginning, and finally I got it is "subtly" connected to the need of a tracking system forced in the citizens. If in the West we accept that, we can't complain about China anymore. I prefer the lockdown to any tracking system, where ALL your personal data are shared not only with the government, but also with other millions of citizens. You can't predict the consequences of that. We are living in a dystopian nightmare.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

forced on the citizens*

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Think how much "useful" is actually the tracking system to stop the spread of the virus. If you go out and leave your phone at home, it's completely useless.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

The future NOW: LEARN or d...


0 ( +0 / -0 )

The different death toll between Italy and South Korea is mainly explained by the different target of affected people: elderly in Italy, young women in South Korea.

I read also articles that said Italy has a stronger strain of the virus compared to other places, it's not always the same everywhere. So, this idea that you can compare easily all the Countries and that a smartphone tracking system is the solution for everyone, is absurd.

The main problem, at least in my Country, it's the situation of our healthcare system, ruined by years of German austerity.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

South Korean is doing everything right followed by Germany! Japan decided to follow the two idiots: one in the UK and one in the US instead looking closer to home.

We all see how that is turning out!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The strategy difference is between snipers and carpet bombing.

S. Korea is using the sniper strategy- identify every person with CV, trace and test their contacts, lock down the minimum number of people, and keep looking for more cases. Rinse and repeat.

This gets maximum effect with minimum disruption. It works when there's enough public health capacity to track every case and all their contacts.

Japan is using the carpet bombing strategy-everybody wears masks in public, and they asked people to distance (difficult in very dense urban areas like Japan's.)

This worked ok until people massed for viewing cherry blossoms and shared their viruses. It's now two weeks later and Japan is seeing the surge in cases as 20% develop severe symptoms. Japan may be able to switch to the intensive "trace and test" sniper strategy.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Alex80, I totally agree with your sentiments. Very well said!

I don't see anything worth writing home about this S. Korean model. Why not the more superior Taiwanese or Singaporean models?

This so-called South Korean "model" is simply a variant - simply a kinder, gentler approach - of the draconian model practiced by their Chinese cousins!

Yet, in my native Kenya, it is the police rungu - batons - that is the model.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I don't see anything worth writing home about this S. Korean model. Why not the more superior Taiwanese or Singaporean models?

And why not the Korean model? It's been successful, more than many other countries. Should we not be modeling ourselves on successful strategies?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The real issue is availability, accuracy, and affordability of the tests. While I haven't been looking too hard, read the some of the faster tests provided early in the pandemic timeline were only 80% accurate. Thought that under normal situations, tests had to be over 98% accurate to be used at all, so relaxing those normal rules is providing a false sense of "testing."

RT-PCR has 3% false negative results, for example.

The FDA approved tests that provide results in 5 and 15 minutes.

From March 12, 2020:

The accuracy of the current COVID-19 tests is not precisely known.  Reasonable estimates, based on test performance in China and the performance of the influenza tests, are that the tests will correctly identify around 60 percent of the patients with the disease and correctly identify 90 percent of the patients that are disease-free.

From March 29, 2020:

Health authorities in China, the United States and other countries have offered few details on the rates of false positive and false negative results on any coronavirus tests. Experts worry that the rapid tests may be significantly less reliable than the more time-consuming method.

Lower accuracy has been a concern with rapid flu tests. Spanish scientists said the rapid tests for coronavirus they reviewed were less than 30% accurate. The more established lab tests were about 84% accurate.

That's a fairly wide range of accuracy and shows why test, test, test, isn't exactly useful. Seems like a money grab by testing companies from here. Wouldn't a psychic be more accurate than these tests?


0 ( +1 / -1 )

@MkoreaMafrika: Exactly, the "South Korean" model is actually the Chinese model. They call it "South Korean" because it looks less scary this way. It's the same thing that they are doing also in Israel

but at least I read that many people in Israel are protesting against this tracking system, since they find it very questionable. I also read an article that explained how the S. Korea tracking system is possible because S.Korea is exploiting some residual system of its dictatorship years. Now I will search the article about this. Here in the West we should reflect very well.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Exactly, the "South Korean" model is actually the Chinese model.

The Chinese model involves lying, destroying research results, murdering scientists, faking numbers.... I really do not think that SK is following that model.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While I was searching for the article that I wanted, I found this one

Instead of some blind praising advertising of this system tracking system, people should read stuff like that, that describes all the actual implications. European Countries aren't South Korea, where apparently people are not afraid at all about this kind of problems. The main fact is that this system is advertised like the best system to contain the spread of the virus, when as I already said, if you leave your phone at home, it's completely useless. Testing people massively is already more useful, despite also this isn't so safe. Someone tested today, whose result was negative, could become positive tomorrow, but since he thinks to be negative, he could go everywhere freely spreading the virus. In my honest opinion, the most effective way to contain the pandemia is actually the lockdown. All people are forced to remain at home, period. It will hurt the economy a lot, but at least when everything is over, there's not the danger that the tracking system is actually kept for other aims.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@WilliB: South Korea was a dictatorship until 20 years ago. It's a very young democracy, where many rights are obviously treated in a different way from what happens in Western Europe. It's not a case that in Western Europe the lockdown was preferred to any tracking system so far. Anyway, also the WHO didn't recommend the tracking system as a useful way to control the pandemia. It said it's not its own affair, but human rights affair.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

In the article that I linked from Fortune, they say that the WHO said what is necessary to address the crisis is testing, lockdown and a robust healthcare system. They never advocated for surveillance on mass of the population.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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