COVID-19 Case Study: The use of ICT & AI to flatten the curve in the Republic of Korea
12:22PM Apr 11, 2020
Seon Kui Lee
Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Welcome to the AI for Good webinar.
My name is Reinhard Scholl. I'm with the ITU, the International Telecommunication Union, United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies and I'm going to be the facilitator of this webinar.
We hope that all of you and your families and friends and colleagues are healthy and safe. Thank you very much for joining today.
The ITU does three things, we do firstly, allocate frequencies to the services that make use of the radio communication spectrum such as mobile telephony or GPS. Then we do standards, a lot of the bits and bytes that are running across optical networks right now are being standardized by ITU, and we also assist developing countries and setting up their information and communication infrastructure.
Before we go into the matter, let's look at a couple of housekeeping rules. So on the bottom panel, you'll find these two icons, chat and Q&A. So if you have questions that you would like to ask our speakers, please use the Q&A icon. And for anything else, please use the chat window. We have the microphone for attendees disabled. We will also make the presentations, the PowerPoint presentations, available after the end of the webinar.
Okay, so the topic of today is COVID-19 case study using ICT and AI to flatten the curve in the Republic of Korea. Until a few weeks ago, unless you were an epidemiologist, you probably haven't heard and didn't know what flatten the curve means. But now I think that everyone who is on this webinar today knows what it is right? or has at least heard this term. So the curve is a graph, which is plotting the number of infected people versus time and if no measures are taken, measureless like social distancing, then this curve is going to be a steeply rising bell shaped curve, that's skyrocketing. And when the curve has reached its peak, it's also the exponentially faster decreasing. The problem with this scenario is that it is overloading the health system of countries at something which we're seeing more and more in all countries of the world today.
So the idea is to flatten the curve, you would like to spread the number of infections over a long period of time. But even flattening the curve is not enough, you might actually want to push down the curve you would like to decrease the number of infections.
There is one country that standing out and that's the Republic of Korea. It's the only large country which has been able to so far successfully combat COVID-19 without locking down its entire economy.
So we are very grateful that we have colleagues from Korea on the line today and we are grateful for three reasons. One is the battle against COVID-19 has not been won yet, not in Korea as well. So all the experts keep working around the clock and making sure that COVID-19 doesn't cause additional anxiety. The second reason is a lot of countries and companies from all around the world are contacting you because they would like to know what's the secret of Korea? How did Korea managed to do so? And the third reason why we are really grateful that you're joining tonight is, it's nine o'clock in the evening Friday. So we're really, really very happy to have you on board. So let me introduce our speakers. So we have Dr. Seon Kui Lee, Dr. Li is the Director of the Division of Risk Assessment and international cooperation of the KCDC, which is the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And then we have Dr. Tai-Myoung, Chung is professor. He is Dean of the College of software and he is also the Director of Information Management technology laboratory of Sungkyunkwan University.
So let's see that we have everyone connected. So Dr. Lee are you there?
Okay, great. How are you doing tonight?
I'm fine. Thank you.
Good. Are you getting the day off tomorrow?
Okay. All right. So we have the presentation up. And we are very excited to listen to your presentation. Dr. Lee. So the floor is yours. Please go ahead.
Thank you very much for giving me giving me the floor. Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, everyone. It's my great honor to share our knowledge and experience on responding to COVID-19 in Korea with all the countries around the world. Let me begin the presentation.
Next slide, please.
Yes, this slide shows the timeline how the situation has gone and how our government responded to COVID-19. As you can see in the timeline here, we issued alert level one blue, after the cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown origin in Wuhan was first reported in China so that we could be prepared for possible importation of COVID-19. We gradually raised our national alter to lever establish operate progresses, the alert level increases increases to level two when the first case was confirmed. And then to level three, after more important cases were confirmed. The secondary and tertiary infections were important, reported after them. Finally, we raised the level to the level four, which is the highest level in response to the clusters Shincheonji and Daenam hospital occurred.
Next slide, please.
Let's move on to the next slide. This graph shows the total number of confirmed cases and the confirmed cases in each day since the first case was confirmed on January 20. In our early this year, As of March 25, there have been 91,003, 9,147 cases in total. The peak of the transmission so far was on February 29th, ninth, with a record of 909 confirmed cases in a single day. After then, though, the newly added cases have been slowly decreased, since March 12th. The number of newly confirmed cases have been around 100. Until today, we are trying our best to maintain the number of new confirmed cases not exceeding hundred, hundred right now and hoping that it can decrease as many and as fast as possible.
Yes. Next next couple of slides are the basic epidemiological information of the confirmed cases in Korea. The one on the left is in this slide is the age to confer distribution of confirmed cases. So distinctive feature is that we have the largest number of confirmed cases in females in their 20s. The reason we have more patients in age group 20 to 29 is because the cluster Shincheonji religious group is mainly targeting women in 20s for their missionary works. So there are many, many members are the female members in 20s. On the right hand side, you can see the number of fatal cases and the fatality rate on each age group. The highest fatality rate is 13.5% in age group, 80 and above, and the overall overall case fatality rate is 1.38% as of March 27th.
Therefore, as a mitigation strategy, we established a new system to put more resources on severe cases. First, we categorize the company cases into two into four categories, mild, moderate, severe and very severe. Each category receives the different treatment and get ultimately to different facilities accordingly, because we actually experienced, experienced with the a much more cases occurred, then the capacity that we have already prepared so we had to expand the our, the treatment facilities and then the hospitals to accommodate all kinds of needs of these cases. So, we've all actually a prior, prioritized our resources and all. So, by the the cases of severity.
This slide indicated the suspicion of the confirmed cases by regions and clusters. The graph on the left shows that they go in jumbo provinces, where the Shincheonji cluster was mainly found. And and these these are areas have the highest number of cases. Other regions such Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Chungnam are also experiencing relatively small, sporadic clusters, bringing the total number of the cases to around 300 more in the reasons. Furthermore, the number of cases found in airport screening is 101. Right now, it's very, very recent data. It's I think, just within a week, we had this large number of cases at the airport screening.
Which means that there are about the increase of the inputted cases from the foreign countries. And then it's really, we see that it's relatively very fast. Taking into account the operating situation all over the world, it is so totally expected. Therefore, we are more keen to strengthen our screening system at the point of entry and actively monitor and test all the incoming travelers.
The pie chart on the right portion of the clusters in Korea are is the about the the crosshairs in Korea. As you may already know, Shincheonji is the biggest cluster as indicated in blue. Orange represents other clusters, other clusters. So you can see the majority of the clusters.
Next slide please.
This slide actually summarizes the response response measures taken along with the progress of outbreaks. Especially after we found out local transmission including Shincheonji cluster during, in the middle of February, right after we recognize the case number 31, which was confirmed on February 18. Was related to Shincheonji religious group. We started to identify and test for all the members of Shincheonji group. As the cases increase and evolve to the big cluster, our government escalated escalated the national level to level four and designated Daegu and Cheongdo as a special maintenance regions on February ninth. When we had a peak on our epi curve, we started show social distancing campaign as well. This was at this time it was just a national campaign that we just pumped up. And this call opening has postponed on March 22. until March 23. And then for the postponed to April 6 currently, while responding this big cluster, we have taken various measures including the update of case definition, and the return of our the response guidelines, and designation of national state hospitals in establishment of living three month supporting centers for accommodating all these, the pin numbers of cases and the deployment of public doctors and so on. As the number of imported cases increase again we can do special entry procedure, including testing and screening for travelers
Now, next slide, please.
This slide is about our testing capacity. It is well known that Korea has conducted extensive blood testing and found the cases at a very early stage. We have extended the testing capacities step by step. In the beginning of the outbreak, only KCDC was available for that testing, because we established that this pen crona testing methodology from the beginning of this coffin outbreak, but later on, it was extended to the research institutes of a public health environment in the local in the local governments. And also we extended it to father to the private medical laboratories, laboratories and hospitals. Therefore, currently, we have a total of 118 testing institutions available nationwide and the capacity is 15,000 testing per day on average and maximum to 20,000 per day.
Next slide please.
Okay, this slide is about the pictures of the drive-thru sample collection is cleaning cream clinics. As you might already know, this drive-thru clinics have contributed as well to our testing capacity because we could collect and clean the collected the samples and screen the people for testing So, it was really the best way to screen all the people suspected subject for testing. We have received many inquiries about how to operate them. He shared the SOP about this.
Next slide please.
Another aspect I would like to touch on is our contact tracing strategy. Before the MERS outbreak in 2015, we learned that traditional investigative methods depending on the patient, or proxy interview has the limitation of omissions and errors of previous activities are for these cases are actually based on the experience of the MERS outbreak in 2015, rules were devised to supplement the areas that were lacking at the time in the current epidemiological investigation, conducted investigation techniques that were used on a limited basis for the MERS outbreak in 2000 are being used in all confirmed cases of COVID-19. So there are mainly four steps, which are investigation, risk assessment, context classification and context management.
At investigations tab, we obtain the preliminary information through interviewing the patient, primary physicians and family and then to compensate the missing information or confirm the interview outcomes. We collect additional information at the stage of risk assesment, the information such as medical records, mobile phone location using GPS, card-transaction log, and video footage are collected and investigated in this stage.
Based on theis information, we classify the clothes and casual contexts and provide the guidelines accordingly from the from move restriction to symptom monitoring. Movement in restriction refers to a legal public order for quarantine and controls travel. Symptom monitoring can be either active or passive, depending on the exposure risk.
Next slide please.
This slide is about the SMART quarantine information system after MERS outbreak in 2015. Actually, even before this COVID-19 outbreak, every inbound traveler entering Korea is required to be checked for fever and also to fill out a questionnaire about their his condition when they visited in these queries in general. In particular, people who have traveled or lived in the areas with outbreaks of certainty Terrorists of infectious diseases, such as MERS, or Ebola, are subject to quarantine investigations, including in individual temperature checks and the test condition questionnaire. As I mentioned before, in order to enable our quarantine system after the MERS outbreak in 2015, we introduced the SMART quarantine Information System. This flow sheet flow chart shows the overall workings of the SMART quarantine Information System. Information about the inbound traveler from the Ministry of Justice, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, airline companies, and major telephone telecommunication companies are collected by KCDC This quarantine information system. Actually, if for some people who come from the context of direct flight from the increase decrease carriers we can easily recognize these people have some of the least because of the importation of certain infectious or communicable diseases. But if somebody takes the like in indirect flights with some connecting flights, then we cannot sometimes trace their travel history. So for the Korean citizens, they usually use this roaming service from the Korean telecom companies. So, these days, we just collected this roaming data from the major telephone companies so that we can actually see the more detailed travel history of our Korean citizens so that we can stop ask them more, and we can have some more close interview with them about their health condition and we can also check about there on the test status and so on.
So these kinds of information about travelers from a country or region with an infectious disease outbreak is accessible by in frontline health care providers during the incubation period. Since the frontline health care providers can check the international travel history of suspected case, at least at the registration three month was preschool stage at the clinics, they are able to quickly identify and isolate or treat the suspected cases in a timely manner. Based on the information collected from the inbound travelers, entry, if a person returns to Korea after traveling to region affected by on infectious diseases, we send text messages to that person during the incubation period. I have the disease about how to report if days develop symptoms service of an infectious disease. Since we send text messages through local communications company, they need to have a domestic cellphone number to receive these text messages, which covers most Koreans as well as most foreigners who are even living in Korea. Actually, this system plays a very important role in responding to COVID-19 for early detection on the input to the cases, either at the answer on either at the the entry, screening, the major point of entry, and also at the frontline are the healthcare providers at the clinics. Actually, we use this system actually, now as well. Currently, I checked with my delivery team and they are currently unloading the old the the income inbound travelers information into this this system currently so the the doctors at the clinic can just find out whether this person has the some recent travel history to the to the any countries around the world.
Next slide please
Then we futher adopted IT technology for efficient and create creative measures such as the self-health check mobile app as well as the self-quarantine safety and protection app. This slide shows how to self-health check mobile app works. All inbound travelers are required to install this app on their smartphones and submit their health condition every day on the app for 14 days. You can see these are the these are the views of the first page of this app, you can start to the mobile app from the front page. And then you can also proceed with a special quarantine form. And then you can also proceed to we are with the daily self health check, you can put all your status on the app and also you can check the location of screening clinics. When so that you can just contact them if you have any symptoms or so.
Next slide, please.
Last strategy we emphasize is the social distancing campaign. After the peak of the transmission on February 29th. We have recommended the public to practice social distancing. Although it was a recommendation back then now we practice in as the social distancing from this week. We advise the public to cancel non essential travel event and social gatherings, and so stay home as much as possible. High risk facilities such as leisure facilities, indoor business facilities and night life venues are strongly recommended to suspend operation. Venue staff remain in operation must strictly comply with the infection prevention guidelines. All these recommendations recommendations are subject to administrative order.
Now, to conclude my presentation, I will make a short comment. COVID-19 is novel virus, we still needed to learn more about these characters, its characteristics. Since now, we have known that COVID-19 is highly infectious from its early key
As IT is required to enhance our traditional control measures and response measures as well as to develop innovative measures as well, currently the world is experiencing the pandemic that we have not ever experienced in recent years. We really needed to share information and work together to resolve all the challenging challenges and overcome this crisis. I really hope our experience can help other countries to take effective measures against COVID-19, and some much more detailed, detailed detailed information in technology will be maybe provided by Dr. Chung, in the next presentation. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Dr. Lee, for your presentation, so we go to a question and answer session. Then we have the talk by Professor Chong, which will also be followed by a q&a session and perhaps you may still be around for that talk as well. Dr. Lee. So we got a lot of questions. And actually, just before I go into the q&a session, I just got the news that the Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister has tested positive for COVID-19 Dr. Lee, you showed one. At the beginning, you showed a graph where you explain the way you showed data, how many of the women and how many of the men got infected. And it looked like it's not just the age distribution between 20 and 29, where there are more female infections than male infections. It looks like it's, I don't have the data right in front of me, but it's it's the average seems to be more female than male. I'm usually what I have in what I've read is more male and female. So can you comment on that?
Maybe I will just quickly say that because we have a very large group of confirmed cases in the age group of 20 to 29. And also all cause all these targets. to people, because the reason for that we just gave the reason for the DISA religious groups target or their strategy. But we saw a lot of the number of the these, the female members, but they come from the cases, as you mentioned the so it'll be similar but a bit higher than maize, actually, compared to other countries data. Most of the countries are actually the very similar percentage between male and female. But in Korea, we have some more cases in females that are kind of unique from other countries, I think.
Okay, did you test patients without clear COVID symptoms Could you repeat again? Did you test patients without clear COVID-19 symptoms?
Yes, actually, at the beginning of our response, because we had very little information about this COVID-19 and we only had limited information and also at the beginning, the Chinese report changed reported that there was not certain evidence for this a human to human transmission. So at the time, our the case division was very strict. And then we were more focused on the symptoms, pneumonia, and also respiratory symptoms and things like that. But later, we found out the we cannot depend on only these symptoms. So we, we also found out some of the some the these are the travel, or I'm sorry, the epidemic epidemiological link where history is also important. And also if there are some possibility of contacts we had to have at this testing. So, for example, we had this huge chansey cluster. And this cluster actually had a very large this group, which are the many Shinji licious crew members in the zoo, and are largely all the nationwide actually we've done all the testings for the the stable area. They will change members in the pool. And then we've screened all the members Indonesian why the intangibles, so that we've done these kind of The the visco group testing at the time. And at the beginning, we also had had, this number was about like 9000 9300 test the people we tested, and also and also at the beginning, we had some large risk groups who had the traveling study history to Han, China, and then we also tested or we also screened all these people. And then if necessary, we also had this testing some symptomatic people in priority and then later, we also asked me to pick up the people as well. So this is the we don't currently or we don't do only these are the symptomatic people but also we do the testing for the ascent unsystematic people for screening essentially, at the airport, airport screening, we've had one or two days we've tested all the inbound travelers for testing because we had a, we thought we had a very high risk from the I mean all the inbound inbound inbound travelers from Europe because we thought that this is very highly disruptive. Currently, we now doing just so needy, the inbound travelers has symptoms at the airport. And then we are for the the, the people with no symptoms, we just call for the monitoring, screening, monitoring on the on the monitoring. So are we are now doing that we are now doing that but before when we had the desert The high risk group of the people from Europe we did also the testing or the old numbers. So is it depending on our risk assessment for the people, then we decided to pull for the testing the people, for the people, we've got our symptoms as well.
Thank you very much, doctor. The big problem in all the countries is there are not enough testing kits available. So the health authorities that governments they don't really know how widespread COVID-19 is in their country. Couldn't the following be done? The same that you do for an election poll when you try to find out which party is going to win? Couldn't you take a representative sample of the population? I don't know how that would be, in the case of Korea, ABC 1000 people. So you take a representative sample of the population. What they have symptoms are not just a representative sample, and then you do Testing. And then you should have a pretty good idea how widespread COVID-19 is, isn't that a strategy that could be or should be followed?
It can be considered but from our perspective, actually, this testing should be kind of prioritized or based on the risk assessment, as I mentioned, if you are in that position, are we're called for the least two groups or high risk groups. Maybe for some people at the long term has the has the facilities hosted these high school groups are angry, and also with underlying diseases, and do in the in the settings are those the people who are sharing the homes and then they are just crowded areas and things like that. So general population, but if I'm in the position, I think always a support for the screening for the highest pocketbooks rather than going for the general population.
Okay, thank you. Do you have statistics available on the severe and very severe cases according to age? So is it mostly the older people who have severe and very severe cases or you do see this also in the younger population?
Actually, we have the same trend trend. We have a much more severe cases in the agri and either with underlying diseases. I don't have the exact statistics right now, but actually, next week, we have our the article on the analysis of the severity and some all this some in depth analysis. Alicia will be on will be published, I think in our KCDC or our the journal, which is called the Wilson journal also. So I think it'll be published in EDB also posted in the in our web page as well. So, you will have more in depth and detailed information about our epistemological Information Analysis.
Thank you. You had a slide where you showed the SMART quarantine information system during the march and mersa outbreak is that same diagram also applicable to COVID-19?
Yes, it is. Actually, we actively use this information system. And then this is very important for us. Because, as I mentioned, all the hour, the case finding and tracing a special Very active because we don't want to lose anyone, any one of the suspects, because first this one can be a huge or large feat cluster. So it's our actually our strategy and measure for that. But before doing that, it is really really necessary for for having all these kinds of information. And then we actually use this information for also for or acts to ban on the the contacts person or some people, they were the contacts they are ordered for the safe quarantine so they don't, we don't want them to go out of our country to have some more leads in other countries. So We also use this kind of system, not only for our crafting purpose, but we connected with the Minister of Justice. So we also can use this information system to the to the to inform the Minister of Justice as well. So, oh, this is very important system that we really use. Absolutely. is public as well.
Okay. Thank you. I thank you very much. How do you get all the the GPS data and the data from the telco providers? You your deficits, I think you have a special law in Korea that allows you to access the data. So you get pretty much all the data from the telco providers.
Actually, we don't we don't ask all the the the, the this data for all cases, if it's necessary me ask me this kind of information. So there's some different courses as I mentioned in our case, I mean contact tracing strategy, there is a kind of risk evaluation. So, we go for the discrete risk evaluation and then case evaluation then if we think of these, these cases memory and then all these update the information that we got from the these, these cases, interview, then we don't go for the father information, inquiry, but if he has a bad memory, and he's not sure about about the locations, maybe in some certain cases that may be the onset of the database is far from now then the people has a little memory about their, what they did and what they were, where they were. And for only those cases we asked, or the editors for the information for additional use of to make this information accurate.
Okay, thanks very much. I think we go into the privacy topic also in the in the next talk a bit deeper. Hmm. And ideally, you would like to have tests that could be done by every citizen, like a self test, a self test for COVID-19. So I take a swap, I do a self swap, I put it in my nose and then I take it out and they put it in a test kit and then within a couple of minutes, I know whether I'm pregnant or whether whether I have COVID-19 or not. So when What are you your projections? When would we have that actually
Depending on the accuracy of the testing method, and actually swapping is very difficult to use by by yourself, I think it's really kind of hard work for our IAS officers also do this one, but these are sometimes very hard and then when we do this, you have a lot of coughs and in all these kind we also you are exposed to the the risk high risk of transmission to others, if you are if there are somebody beside you and so on. So, from the crane to the procedure, we are not sure about whether it can be possible but if it's possible for better testing are not using the sub, the this credential, swapping method and olders sample collection method you will be okay. But are we believe that the currently the most accurate method is the RT PCR and then a detectable issue. We also are inquisitive, the manufacturers or these aren't the people to develop a more rapid and the more easy test kits, but we needed to see if accuracy is the most important factor.
Okay, let me ask you the last question and then we go to the to the next speaker what what are your predictions? What will the situation look like in say the fall of this year or towards the end of this year? Suppose Korea has been able to manage the outbreak that it has been done so far successfully. Other countries will not have been able probably by the time other in some countries may may follow you perhaps hopefully So what will life look like? At the end of the year or in 2021? A lot of people are not immune against it. We still have to wait quite a bit if and if there is a vaccine. So what's what's your outlook?
Okay, this might be my personal opinion, I guess. Actually, we've seen other Coronavirus like Ebola and was MERS. But we could see these Coronavirus doesn't disappear, disappear, actually it will occur. We are corrupting or even just continue to sell we just some spotty cases and for so long. We do not actually the Korean government actually has Always Always set the worst case scenario or to do to respond to to this kind of outbreak. We will continue to see a two to consider the worst scenario from now on as well. And considering the worst case scenario is for the preparation, we have to be really prepared for the reoccurrence of this virus and things like that. And then actually, the, the is about the more soft break caused after the most are packed into SOS and 15. We are always prepared and then actually last year, we had like more than 400 subjects. I suspected the cases in Korea, actually we had no come from the case. So we can see all these kinds of we have to be really all at on the operation. Another outbreak of this Coronavirus, so we will be we will go back to our maybe we hope to go back to our normal life but our government thinks that the people's lifestyle should be changed because Korean people's lives, I had some some of the volume of a part on for the number parts and to the to the corona virus because Kasumi really liked the gatherings and then I'll be like, you know, having the, the mirrors together and they share the news together. And all these kinds of our everyday life. The stars, I think we needed to be adjusted to the the infectious disease control style. So we just prefer to have this our normal life But we thought some lifestyle changes.
Okay, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot, then a big, big thank you again, you work seven days and nights throughout the week and it's really late at night.
Perhaps you're still available to listen to the other presentation. And maybe for this the Q&A period, we have over 70 questions and all the questions are super interesting. And we just don't have time to do that now. We'll have to figure out how we could maybe get answers to all those questions. Let's think about that. Okay, so let's move to our second speaker. So, Dr. Tai-Myoung Chung, let us switch the presentation. So you will be sharing from your screen. Excellent, great, and the floor is yours. Please go hold this up the junk.
That's my screen that I'm going to To share my screen,
Good. You should go to presentation mode. Yeah.
Great. Thank you.
Thank, thank you very much for inviting me to this very important webinar. Then I'm, I'm Tai Chong. I'm work working as a professor teaching computer science at Sungkyunkwan university, then I'm going to introduce some case that how we flatten the curve using ICT technologies in Korea, then I asked for your understanding that nobody knows that what's going to be happening tomorrow. So I'm going to talk about the things and efforts that we did so far. Then, um, let's briefly talk about the damage we got by the COVID-19 in Korea. there so far. It's little less than 10,000 patient we've got and 10 fatalities by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Korea. It's a huge number, then we are suffering from the panic and fear from many people's deaths, about hundred there without being killed due to lack of medical services facilities. But actually, let me say that this is not true. So far so far we can manage it with many volunteers, medical volunteer medical doctors and nurses and volunteers now, but Oh, but honestly, that we don't know about tomorrow. So and also the volunteers kind of tired for a long month of long, long work long time work. And also we experienced the economic crisis because of the separation of people, companies in even nations. Consequently, many factories, restaurants, stores, they all have shut down and our economy is falling down into the endless pit. This is quite a big problem at this point. But we try to overcome this kind of situation by applying the ICT technologies. Actually we are, as you heard from Dr. Li, we doing lots of different efforts, but I'm going to focus on the ICT services today. And also we have many different services and solutions, but I'm going to introduce a few of them. And actually, and we are starting to realize that the value of ICT services, how is important to overcome this kind of disaster. Then also we realized that the owner of collaborative services is very important. So let me talk about the few aspects of the But different services and efforts. And first of all, we like to maintain the society with a minimal damage by applying the social distance campaign. And so we are what our schools are supposed to open the semester, the beginning of March, but you couldn't open it. But since we don't know how long this kind, this digester course goes on. So, we open this course particular universities with remote education. For example, my university has 4300 different classes open four semesters. Then, we are have the remote lectures, online lectures in different style like giving the the recorded lecture or giving the real time online lecture. And sometimes they give their homework online and have some kind of projects done. But actually the problem is that we didn't have enough infrastructure. So we add, we install, we construct the additional, we need to add on the the communication infrastructure and also, we did many people didn't have experience teaching online. So we kind of educating those people to one month, we have been doing this for a month then. Kind of Okay, we all found find those few problems here and there, but we can manage, but still, our high schools and junior high and primary schools are not opening yet. So the government is kind of wondering how we can do this could be dangerous and also are we are Applying the remote medical care because the hospital became one of the dangerous place. So we allow the chronic disease patients don't go to the hospitals to stop, get the prescription by phone and also remote work. Many companies and organizations participate in the remote work.
But this is kind of innovative and new things. So we need to have we need to make this remote work effective and efficient was till many companies don't know how to do the How to many do this remote work. So this case kind of Homework and Korean government financially suports that the deployment of solutions and the R&D product for remote services using virtual reality augmented virtual reality hologram AI big data and any other ICT technologies based on the 5G and IoT environment. Fortunately, we started to use deployed 5G last week or last year and we have a good infrastructure of IoT, but still, in order to use this, for many people, all the people, we still have a lack of the infrastructure. Then we like to maintain the society with minimal damage, though in the beginning of Coronavirus last month. Then, few of the a couple of the high school students developed the to show the route of a patient. That was kind of amazing. That's right after the Coronavirus, exposed to the people then they develop it and open to the public. While we are using this kind of application, we realize that then the individual's private information, the privacy could be exposed to the people, people can guess who he is. So we thought about the privacy issues. Even though we are facing the emergencies, we still need to keep the Privacy Information so that they don't suffer afterwards. So we change it to show the perriers places instead of showing the route of the individuals to protect patient privacy. In fact, Korea is one of the countries are far or the streak of privacy policies, maybe is as strong as the GDPR. But are you because of this kind of emergency situation with could lose those kind of Privacy Information Protection. So we are very cautious about it. And also the government to develop the self protagonist this application. Self monitoring doesn't mean that it's monitoring the body or health. It's just an individual check his condition or condition and type in the data. Particularly the traveling people that go in coming into the career, supposed to use the self diagnosis app. And also in Korea, we uh produce about 10 million masks a day, but the population is 50 million. So his lack of masks. So we are have some kinds of rules that the people can only buy two masks a week but we could see long lines in the at the store to buy your masks because they don't know where to go after after a long time on the line they found that there is no mask it's kind of panic. So we've we developed the government and private sector together developed some kind of app or application to find out where to go to buy your masks. Then let me all this is quite important for us because we try to open their public data to the people but it's quite slow. By this event, we found the solution to do that. This is showing that how we are developed this mask app services. Then mask sales and inventory data at the store are collected the in a higher highrise health insurance record. Give you an assessment services this come with the subsidiary. So after they collect this data that NIA a this national information and society agency, they modify the data to make it complete like a putting the store name, address, amount in stock, then date, then make the data complete for the services. And as Kuneva QKD or the private hotel companies, ask them to make API for developers to access the data. So actually, the data for privacy is in the government sector, about the the the hotels can make API to access the data. Then they provide this API and it also they provide the cloud for development and operations because the developers need a huge resources So in that case, in that the many developers developed mask-apps services and publish it to the public. so amazingly, more than 30 apps were published released within two weeks. So this is kind of strategy to open the public data to, we found that this kind of strategy to open the public data to the private sector, and use it and also we have some ICT solutions to provide the information of current status and ask people how to respond on it. Then our career spatial information and community this company developed a map service for or to show the current situation routable patience and place for diagnosis and place for tension based on GIS data. So all this information Nations widely provide lots of information to the people. Then another company wise not developed the public chatting robot using AI techniques, the natural language processing technique to inform the way of preventing and correct responding Corona viruses. So it's open to the public. Also one of the hotel companies in Naver put the company's neighbor developed the AI-based the first robot. That robot AI robot automatically caused the people who need the suspicious people and ask about his condition, then informs the Public Health Center. As I said, the volunteers are limited. So if we ask volunteers to call every paper in such time, then we could not manage it for but since they develop this kind of robot are based on AI data. are automatically courses certain time and collects the information and put in the database for the public health center. And also the day will list a company that cross the data from the articles of 1800 media companies and analyze you using AI then provide the the trend correction to the public. So, this is how we provide the information of current status and how to respond to this situation. And also we have some eyes we are having some ICT technologies used to speed up the kit development and examination processes. CGN is one of the companies who developed the diagnosis kits. They using AI techniques then it only took two weeks to To develop the diagnosis kits, even though we prepare to develop some kind of kit for this kind of disease, then from December that without this say AIT, AI technologies we couldn't develop the diagnosis kit in such a short time that the solid kit is certified by Korea and Europe in February. And Puno is the AI based thee the digital therapeutics company. They clash by intensive patients by examining X-ray image of lung within three seconds with AI techniques they use the vision technology, then that's used in public health centers already. And generic inspection. They examine the lung disease within seconds using AI techniques also They are I'm not sure the details by the probably looking at the image and find out the the, the pneumonia or those kind of symptoms from the lung. Then this is another thing very interesting. Tango city was building the Smart City. The Smart City has data hop, then all we need to trace the patient's route then epidemiological investigation was needed. Then we use this data hope to find out the routes. Then, since we were developing the smart city for a long time, we could utilize the power of the solutions on it. Then this is quite critical to develop the new edition are Quickly as quickly as possible because we don't know we, since we don't see the Coronavirus that we don't know where it is and we don't know when it's ended. So, we are anxiously waiting for the medicine and vaccines. Then dear Jen, they use the AI deep learning algorithms to predict interaction of throat and protein and they propose the candidate machine such as medicine for HIV and Coronavirus is then our own choice another company is a platform development company they developed a platform to find out candidate substances to treat Coronavirus and more efficiently. So, one company is the the developing the finding out the medicine using the AI deep learning techniques and other one is develop the platform to accommodate those solution. And find out the substances. So, those kinds of efforts collectively are working to fight against the do Coronavirus and settle down the COVID-19 I believe that this is the power of therefore, we are giving and this contributions from from the eyes the surgeons is great so far we found out then this is my conclusion. I think we are paying a lot of tuition to learn from COVID-19. But we should together make a best effort to turn the crisis into opportunity in Korea. The people say this is crisis if we overcome this crisis, we have lost over to opportunity to be grown. So, I and also We believe that this strategy will be ended sooner or later hopefully soon. And to rising up from the bottom, I propose to build a new society using the cutting edge ICT technologies. We experience that the ICT technologies can contribute in many ways to the society with thought that it is true, but we didn't know about we are finding out ICT technologies, particularly AI techniques are helping to develop the solutions and helping to the for the people to communicate. So and also we need to elevate the relationship among people and society nations. Before we having this social distance campaign, we didn't know that my neighbor and my friends are really important by finding out the the importance of the paper. So from the lesson, I think We need to elevate our relationship much better, particularly between the nations. Then, this is my word. Last Word. We cannot escape from the past, we already experienced but can build a future by well may managing the present, actually in Korea. This is small country, but we actually together to cope with this disaster. Thank you much.
Thank you very much dr. Chung. That was excellent. Thank you. Thank you for that. We still have Dr. Lee also in the lines. So dr. Chung, the most often question asked, everyone wants to have these applications. Are they available as open source?
Some are available on open source, some are not. But I believe, actually, we encourage people pu to open their sources, the public using the any kind of in any kind of environment. So I have to check but I think there's some many of them are in open source community.
Okay, so if people wanted to get to the to find out they could get in contact with maybe these companies and see whether that would be available.
Oh, let me say this this, the Coronamap and those kinds of things most might be in do open source but I don't know about the company's applications.
Okay. Okay. With respect to privacy, let's dig a little bit deeper into the topic of privacy. That's one of the big question in today's society. In order to make better prediction, AI needs good data needs a lot of data, so data would have to come from, from the users. So there's this difficult trade off. How much do you share the data? So can you give a bit a few details? So from what I know, in Korea, a lot of information, private information has been made available, not the name of the person, but I think quite often, you could figure out who the person was if a person was infected. And then there was also discussion within Korea that maybe you have been releasing a bit too much information. Can we can we go a little bit into detail on how these discussions are going in Korea?
Okay. I have been at the bureau member of OECD, they are the security and privacy party of both privacy and security. But I think that that's that's not a correct understanding. Because we have applied very strong regulations and policies on privacy. So by law, we had a lot of hacking instance, they exposed some data, but we're not opening the personal data to everywhere, we have a very strict or regulation and privacy regulations. So, it might be as I said, the more a stronger than the GDPR. We apply this Privacy Rule and regulation since 2000. And and people complain that they can or they cannot run the business because of the regulation. So we try to find out the balance between the use of data and keeping the personal information. So we are just past the privacy law last year. So we tried to clash fi, all the personal data and hidden data and not personal data. So we try to use the data, but it's not sure that we just release any data to it to the public.
Okay. Dr. Lee, you already talked about a bit earlier as something you would like to add on this topic or have we covered that sufficiently?
Okay. thank you
And also, let me say the the civil, civilians, we are monitoring the government activities, the government's rules, so that they don't make a mistake to expose the personal data to the public. By mistake, so, are we actually worried, too, because government may ignorant to our not too much pay attention to the privacy data, because it is emergency. But even though we have emergency the society is going on, so we should keep the minimum rule that the civilians also monitoring that too.
Okay, good, both sides are monitoring each other. Next question, are you using AI technologies to predict the evolution of COVID-19? And are you then based on these models, are you then making decisions on whether to increase testing, decreased testing, test other parts or change your policies? So you're trying to predict or how are you trying to predict the evolution of COVID-19?
That's to the doctor Lee,
Whoever can say something to that.
Actually, my division is also in charge of this, the disease surveillance or internationally, we are not in the before even the COVID-19 outbreak, we've always a severe disability On mostly about Ebola, and or Morrison and all these kinds of very important diseases, or some diseases, they might be imported to Korea, which we choose to make some kind of discuss to the population, that was the hour. The activities, actually, we now are having the r&d projects in using this AI technology technology, by machine learning for better event based surveillance, we are currently doing that but to do the Center for the prediction. Actually, the AI should learn more about the the about the diseases and then about the characteristics of diseases and then and then the needs are a lot of information. But this COVID-19 I think we are currently learning about these characteristics. So I think for using this AI, I think we need to gather more information to make AI to learn about this disease as well. So we are thinking of a process to, to, to see how we can use AI for in the response of the to the COVID-19.
Actually the not only Korea but wide worldwidely, the people are predicting so many things using AI, like oh, when is going to be ended, what kind of violence is going to be occurring and those kinds of things. The thing is that people don't trust hundred percent on the predictions, they only looking at the facts. So even though the people make some predictions from the previous event and the characteristics still, then we are not following The predictions yet, then maybe up to where that we are saying is good at this point. But still, this academia, we are trying to figure out what's going to happen and what to be prepared to using these predictions. And also you said that they are or we could test the normal people to see if they are infected by their Coronavirus. But you should understand that we don't have room to do that learn to satisfy their curiosity yet. We are all hundred percent focused on saving the people and getting rid of these Corona viruses. Then later on, probably up to word we could leave you all the predictions by AI and see how he was good.
One question is How long did it take to put this ICT strategy into place? I think that has been a long ongoing process and Korea is like one of the top nations with respect to information communication technologies. That's not something that you learn overnight or within a few months. I think that takes a long time. Could you comment on that? What advice could you give to countries?
It depends. There are lots of different level of ICT technologists. Unfortunately, since 1998, we tried to build the high speed networks, then also we try to educate the people to build good software engineers, that these days if we say that we develop some kinds of apps, it probably take a couple of days like the the mask-apps and CoronaMap apps. This quite simple, but for those solutions for examining the long Kansans things, are we still working on like two years and didn't find the good stuff? Motion yet and also we need to resolve resolve resolve the regulation problems. We are not allowing the remote on the medication unlimited medical services yet. So two things one is technology. I think we are up to developing the any kind of things in the show such a short time for trivial ones. But we need to resolve the we need to the change the regulations and registrations it is. So if you say the how long it takes, depends, was complicated was takes years. Most the simple application to develop it away. Okay.
And you said last year, Korea started 5G, I mean different people have different opinions what 5G means but aside from that, what you call 5G and what you launched last year, was that helpful in fighting COVID-19 in Korea?
I believe so, because some since we don't have many applicants on 5G, but at least we deployed 5G and established 5G and deployed the smartphone or of smartphones. As you know, 5G is like 20 times faster than LTE if we use a 28 a k, a gigahertz, but actually in Korea, we're using 3.5 gigahertz now. It's not that fast. But you could, for example, let me say this, if we don't have fast networks, we cannot have the remote education and online education at all. But since we in my school, we deployed the 5G and user solutions. So without big problem, we can have 20,000 people more than 20,000 people are taking take the online classes same time. So, there are lots of applications we are developing but so far, we found a few applications which was only working on 5G.
Okay. Thanks a lot. Last maybe last question because it's 10:30. In in Korea 10:30 at night. What advice would you give to other countries? What would be your top, your top advice? Your number one advice to other countries
Learn from the experience. Then the Korea, the good thing in Korea we had the the confirmed cases earlier than other other people other than the Chinese. So we should have developed a lot of things. We have developed a lot of ICT solutions. So I hope that the other countries like America and other countries, we are now following us, better to learn from us. And oh, I think the my government and we are willing to teach those kinds of experience and share the know-hows. And also, I think we need to like collaborative work, donate or be among the nations, because we are traveling. So it's sort of idea is that the issue the certificate of vaccinated the paper or issue to guarantee the health, then no matter what kind of the method that we take, we should cooperate and we should communicate the other, other, otherwise, the economy be falling down so quickly.
Dr. Lee, your closing words, what's your top advice to other countries?
Actually, as dr. Chung mentioned, I really agree with about to prepare and he's actually in the public as feared. We always emphasize On the public, so emergency preparedness and response, as I mentioned before, when you are in the middle of this kind of outbreak, you should think of or consider all kinds of scenarios, and then you have to actually have some plans for those scenarios to be prepared. Our government has or actually follow those steps and then I'm sure that other countries are not that rate late to follow these kinds of steps as well. We always assess the least crisis are currently is crisis and then we actually consider how we can do in the limited resources anything and and also limited capacity. So and then also we had a very active information sharing with other countries, we will do that we will continue to do that with other countries. And then I hope we can all together can just overcome all this risks in the future. Thank you.
Okay, thanks a lot both of you. That was great. very much appreciate it. And I guess your advice is countries somehow have to try to survive the current COVID-19 crisis and then get ready to battle the COVID 20 crisis will be better prepared for that one. Okay, so thanks a lot. You're working seven days a week and the seven days doesn't mean just days it also means nights so a huge thank you to both of you for having made yourself available. We will make their presentations available, the PowerPoint presentations, when we also present, will make the video available so people can can listened to that and just for the colleagues still online, we do a just a poll now to see whether you liked it or whether you didn't like it. I'm not sure whether we have that ready. If you if we could launch the poll to see whether you were happy with the webinar or not.
Then let me also mention two items that might be of interest to you. One is we have a technical Working Group, that's done in collaboration with ITU and the World Health Organization WHO it's called the AI for health and the idea is to come up with a benchmarking framework to check the quality of AI models. The group is open to anyone. So you're happy to participate if you're interested.
And then we would also like to point out our AI for Good Global Summit which will take place 21 to 25 September. If COVID-19 allow, it will be physically in Geneva if not, it will be an online event. So thanks a lot again for our speakers in Korea, and also for you to have participated to the attendees of this webinar.
Thank you very much and we're going to end the meeting. Thank you.