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FUS Faculty Research

Political Science & International Relations


A Democratic tour de force How the Korean State Successfully Limited the Spread of COVID-19


Juliette Schwak


While the COVID-19 pandemic is still greatly affecting most of the world, the Republic of Korea1 has managed to stall the spread of the disease. 

On April 30, 2020, the country reported zero new cases of the virus,2 and, with necessary precautions, Korean Buddhists were able to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. 

Since then, new outbreaks have appeared, but they have been limited. No nationwide or even local lockdown was imposed. Citizens largely complied with government guidance on social distancing and there have been no COVID-related protests in the country. 

The response of the Korean government and of Korean society to the COVID-19 crisis has generated much interest among foreign observers, who wonder how the Korean government was able to limit the spread of the disease while maintaining economic activity and without generating distrust among the population.



Covid-19, South Korea

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