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KT suggests founding intl epidemic management working group

Ku Hyeon-mo (KT)
Ku Hyeon-mo (KT)
KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo is pushing for the formation of a new global body to address pandemic preparedness utilizing information and communications technology, the South Korean mobile carrier said Sunday.

At an event that took place Friday to commemorate the Broadband Commission’s 10th anniversary, Ku pitched the idea of an epidemic management working group in which global players could collaborate to fight future health care crises.

The Broadband Commission is a 58-member group helmed by the International Telecommunication Union and UNESCO that aims to supply ultrahigh-speed internet to the world.

Its commissioners include managers from Facebook, Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson and the Novartis Foundation.

Ku was appointed as a commissioner in May for a running term of two years. He was the only participant from Korea at the anniversary meeting.

KT said Ku underlined the significance of network coverage and ICT during the COVID-19 crisis in Korea.

“We need measures to identify and seclude pathogens as quickly as possible through the help of ICT,” Ku said in a statement. “Epidemics are not a single country’s issue but the world’s, and we ought to have an Epidemic Management Working Group within the Broadband Commission.”

Since 2018, KT has sought to raise awareness of the role of ICT in preventing the spread of infectious disease.

The envisioned working group, according to the company, would analyze ICT-oriented COVID-19 countermeasures in every country and propose ideas for a global pandemic response protocol.

It would be a collective endeavor of KT, relevant organizations from seven countries, including Kenya and Malaysia, officials from 16 groups such as the Novartis Foundation, Intel and Ericsson, and World Bank and the Pan American Health Organization under the World Health Organization.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (