COVID-19 and the Long-Term Care system in the Republic of Korea

Structural characteristics of the LTC system, impact of the pandemic, measures adopted and new reforms

This country profile brings together information on the experience of the long-term care sector (focussing on people who use and provide care) during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Korea from the LTCcovid International Living Report on COVID-19 Long-Term Care. It also provides links to research projects on COVID-19 and long-term care, to key reports, and lists key experts on the impacts of COVID-19 on the long-term care sector in the Republic of Korea.

Experts on COVID-19 and long-term care in the Republic of Korea that have contributed to this report:


Living report: COVID-19 and the Long-Term Care system in the Republic of Korea

PART 1 – Long-Term Care System characteristics and preparedness
PART 2 – Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who use and provide Long Term Care
  • 2.01. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country (total population)

    As of February 5, 2021, there have been 80,524 confirmed COVID-19 infections in South Korea, and 1,464 deaths, according to Our World In Data, corresponding to 2.8 deaths per 100,000 population.

  • 2.02. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 among people using long-term care

    Data on the numbers of deaths linked to COVID-19  is reported in a regular briefing document provided by the Central Disease Control Headquarters. While the report is released daily, specific data on deaths of people who use Long-Term Care is reported sporadically. The most recent data is from 23rd October 2021.

    Of the 2,745 COVID-19 deaths in the whole population by 23rd October 2021, 465 (16.9%) have been attributed to those in long-term care hospitals, while 253 (9.2%) have been attributed to long-term care facilities, or nursing homes. Another 97 (3.5%) deaths were attributed to other community-based LTC providers such as adult day care centres and senior welfare centres.

    As for place of death, vast majority of deaths (92.2%) occurred in the hospital inpatient setting. The remaining 4% occurred in the ER, 3.2% at home, and 0.6% other (overseas, in transport, etc.)

    In 2019, according to OECD data, there were 210,284. Therefore, 0.12% of this population are estimated to have died from COVID-19. There were 483,433 patients hospitalized in the 1,560 long-term care hospitals in 2018. Therefore, 0.1% of this population would have died from COVID-19.

  • 2.04. Impacts of the pandemic on access to care for people who use Long-Term Care

    In terms of wider impacts, the National Health Insurance Services has temporarily stopped providing the eligibility test for potential beneficiaries, since it requires in-person interviews and assessments of older people and families. ‘Certificate tests’ for care staff have been paused. A report from May 2020, further described that community care for older people and people with disabilities were closed in late February 2020. The Ministry has requested staff working in community-care centres to prepare for safe reopening and to support people with care and support needs with the delivery of meals, welfare checks, and supportive activities. The government also provided a supplementary budget to temporarily support economically disadvantaged groups (Source:

PART 3 – Measures adopted to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who use and provide Long-Term Care

PART 4 – Reforms to strengthen Long-Term Care systems and to improve preparedness for future pandemics and other emergencies

Printable version of this country profile:

To cite this report:

TBC. LTCcovid country profile – Republic of Korea. In: Comas-Herrera A., Marczak J., Byrd W., Lorenz-Dant K., (editors) LTCcovid International living report on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care. LTCcovid, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science. Available at:

Previous LTCcovid report on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care in South Korea (May 2020)