Drive-through COVID-19 testing in South Korea

Drive-through Coronavirus Testing from South Korea is opening in 10 more US states


Cities in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Massachusetts have opened drive-through coronavirus testing stations.

Drive-through testing is proving to be a safer and more efficient way to test for the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. The method is recommended by South Korean doctor Kim Jin-yong, Director of the Infectious Internal Medicine department at Incheon Medical Center. Kim was in charge of treating the first confirmed patient of COVID-19 in Korea. This simple method, taking only 10 minutes, has the advantage of eliminating contact with other people, thereby minimizing risk of further infection. As a result, many Korean health officials are able to efficiently administer testing in this way, conducting 12-15 thousand tests per day. Other countries were inspired and have decided to adopt this method as well. The leadership of many US states view this practice in Korea positively, and have decided to adopt it.

In the United States, it is necessary to make an advance appointment for drive-through testing, although the exact booking method varies by state. Washington and South Carolina use online surveys, while others such as Massachusetts and Colorado require doctor diagnoses at the drive-through testing stations. In these cases, doctors check for symptoms such as fever and shortness of breath through the window. If a patient presents symptoms, they will be further tested for COVID-19. Patients receive test results within 4-6 days.

Meanwhile, on March 15, South Korea's national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, had a discussion by phone with his US counterpart Robert O'Brien on how to cooperate in dealing with the virus. The two agreed to share up-to-date information on disease spread and quarantine programs as well as scientific technology solutions including vaccine development and self-diagnosis mobile applications. Both sides have voiced the belief that cooperating will lead to more efficient actions taken against COVID-19.

Kyuyeon Park is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a young fellow of the Asan Academy. She studied in Keimyung University.