Although the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region was the first to be affected, it was also one of the regions that responded quickly. The response strategies have ranged from border closings, lockdowns, and enforcement of COVID-appropriate behavior to testing, tracing, treatment, isolation, and quarantine.
Several EAP countries have received World Bank Group (WBG) financing and policy advice to help them respond to the pandemic and other human development challenges arising from it. Many relevant experiences and lessons on COVID-19 preparedness and response have emerged that can be shared not only within EAP but also in other countries. Hence, the main objective of the World Bank Group-Republic of Korea partnership on pandemic preparedness and response is to promote the generation of knowledge and adaptation of international best practices in preparing for and responding to subsequent phases of COVID-19 and any future pandemics.
This partnership supports countries in developing informed approaches to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as preparing and responding to future threats learning from the experience of East Asian countries. This partnership focuses on the following aspects:
(i) Developing a comprehensive understanding of successful responses to COVID-19, including with regards to governance and institutions, process and procedures, key policies and legal and regulatory framework, and health systems capacity to prevent, detect and respond;
(ii) Drawing lessons on what has and has not worked and why, and highlighting challenges that remain ahead; and
(iii) Sharing the lessons with countries struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic to empower them to adapt best practices to their own context and capacity as they respond to the pandemic. The experiences of Korea and other East Asian countries will be reviewed and compared to inform the analysis and drive the knowledge agenda.
Moving forward, the partnership will deliver on three interrelated components related to knowledge generation, knowledge exchange, and building a sustainable platform for collaboration between countries. This work includes:
- Country case studies of COVID response in Fiji, Malaysia, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, and Vietnam;
- Thematic policy notes on vaccination, risk communication and information sharing, elderly care and long-term homes, hospital response to COVID-19, and adaptation of health insurance to COVID-19, and the role of digital innovations in responding to COVID-19;
- Series of webinars based on the above; and
- Building a sustainable web platform for collaboration on pandemic preparedness and response.