“The use of scientific evidence and innovative technologies such as epidemiological surveys based on big data and artificial intelligence is key in this new normal where we live with COVID-19,” said Jeong Eun-kyeong, the commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, during her keynote speech at the international symposium “CAETS 2020” on Tuesday afternoon. She also emphasized the importance of science, technology and international cooperation to overcome the pandemic. The CAETS is an international engineering organization that has members across 30 nations around the world.
Jeong shared South Korea’s experiences of COVID-19 in her pre-recorded speech. “The government and business worked closely together, while healthcare workers and the public joined in the efforts selflessly,” she said. “Timely communications of accurate information and the use of information and communications technology to trace contacts of people who tested positive have been instrumental in the fight against the virus.”
Jeong stressed that technology plays a crucial role in responding to the pandemic as COVID-19 is most likely here to stay. “Developing tests, treatments and vaccines is the most important,” she said. “Improving big data- and AI-related technologies is also needed as it enables us to predict a pandemic and conduct science-based epidemiological surveys.” She also added that technologies that can create a COVID-secure environment in busy places such as stores and restaurants, safe ventilation systems and effective and convenient face masks need to be developed.