South Korea's drive-through coronavirus testing on way to achieving global standard

The Straits Times takes a peek into a major testing lab for the coronavirus, located in Seoul.

SEOUL - South Korea's innovative drive-through testing for the coronavirus, which allows samples to be collected from drivers in just 10 minutes, is on its way to becoming a global standard.

The Trade Ministry announced earlier this week that its so-called "K-Quarantine drive-through" has passed the first phase of procedures for it to be adopted as a new international standard.

The International Organisation for Standardisation, a standard-setting body, voted in favour of the proposal, according to the ministry.

But it will take another three years to complete the procedure and establish the testing scheme as an international standard. The process requires various stages of voting and opinion gathering from experts all over the world.

Once the second-most infected country after China, South Korea has flattened the curve with its successful "3T" model of mass testing, aggressive contact tracing and effective treating.

Drive-through testing, which was first launched in late February to cope with a surge in number of cases, allows people with symptoms to drive to a testing centre and wind down their car windows to get swabbed in minutes, instead of waiting for hours in queues in hospitals.

The approach helped health authorities to test about 20,000 people every day. It has since been adopted by countries such as the United States, Germany and France.

On Friday (Aug 7), South Korea reported a total of 14,519 cases of the coronavirus, including 20 new cases. The death toll stands at 303.