Several countries received international attention because they were considered successful in suppressing the spread of corona through various early policy responses.
The corona virus has spread to hundreds of countries. Based on John Hopkins data, as many as 185 countries / territories have reported cases of infection due to the virus or Covid-19, including Fiji and the United States of Guam in the Pacific islands.
Corona pandemic continues as there are no special vaccines and drugs yet. Some researchers predict, after the first wave of transmission of the corona virus has passed, there will still be further waves. The World Health Organization or WHO says the end of the pandemic is still long.
But so far, several countries have received international attention because they are considered to have succeeded in suppressing the spread of corona through various early policy responses. This success was reflected in the slowing down in the number of corona cases and the low mortality rate. Here are four countries including:
The country led by President Nguyễn Phú Trọng became one of the countries considered successful in dealing with the spread of corona. Rapid response and government control are the key to the country’s success in reducing the spread of the virus. To date, Vietnam has reported zero deaths from Covid-19.
Based on John Hopkins data as of April 24, 2020, Vietnam reported 268 Covid-19 cases, 224 of which were cured. The number of recorded cases increased from March to mid-April. However, as of April 16 to April 24, there were no new cases added.
Quoted from the article on the World Economic Forum website, Vietnam launched a series of initiatives to fight the spread of corona on February 1, 2020. All flights to and from China were stopped. School is closed after the Chinese New Year holiday.
Two weeks later, quarantine was imposed in Vinch Phuc Province, north of Hanoi. The decision was in line with concerns about the health status of migrant workers returning from Wuhan, the city which was the initial epicenter of the corona virus.
Furthermore, the country enforces quarantine for 14 days for anyone who has just arrived in Vietnam and stops all international flights. Infected people were isolated and tracking was carried out on all people who might have been in contact with corona patients.
As a precaution, disinfectant booths were scattered in various places – although health experts have recently issued warnings of the danger of spraying the body with disinfectants. People are also required to wear masks when outside the home. Information on how to deal with Covid-19 is placed in various public areas to increase understanding of the population.
As a one-party state with large and organized military and security forces, the Vietnamese government can make quick decisions and implement them immediately. Plus there is a culture of supervision in the community. Residents are expected to report if there are neighbors who are suspected of being infected by the corona or committing an offense.
People found spreading false or false news about corona risk visiting the police. Until the end of March, 800 people were fined related to this matter.
Unlike other richer Asian countries, such as South Korea, Vietnam is not in a position to conduct mass tests. For comparison, as of March 20, the number of people tested for corona in the country was 15,637 people, while in South Korea it was 338 thousand. As mentioned earlier, the key to handling corona in Vietnam is government control.
2. South Korea
South Korea fights the spread of corona by aggressively implementing corona tests and contact tracing of corona patients. President Moon Jae-in’s country is providing free corona testing places in public areas. This method is then followed by other countries, including the United States.
The government uses CCTV recordings, debit and credit card transactions, and communication data from mobile phones, to track who needs to be tested. Tracking by this method is considered effective along with the massive use of CCTV in the country and non-cash transactions, as well as the high number of residents who have cellphones.
Tracking is still being carried out aggressively even though free testing is available in many places. Because, many people who are infected with corona with mild symptoms so do not do the test.
Quoted from Reuters, people who come from several regions such as Europe and America are required to undergo a corona and quarantine test for 14 days. Foreigners who violate quarantine provisions are at risk of being deported. While local residents face prison sentences and fines.
Quoted from The Conversation, this country has learned from the MERS outbreak in 2015 by improving its disease control system. South Korea has a large capacity health service system and a sophisticated biotechnology industry that is able to produce test kits quickly. As a result, the country is able to conduct 15 thousand corona tests per day.
Referring to the data of John Hopkins as of April 24, 2020, the State of Ginseng reported as many as 10,708 cases of Covid-19, with 240 of them dead and 8,501 recovered. The number of new case reports has continued to decline starting last March.
At present, the country is wary of the continued wave of the spread of corona. Hundreds of patients who recovered reported being re-infected. Health experts in the country had worried about the potential for further waves as the use of test equipment from Tongkok was suspected to be inaccurate in the initial handling period.
Taiwan, which is only about 161 kilometers from the plains of China, reported the first case of corona on January 21 last. Foreign Policy reported, the Taiwanese government took a quick step after news of a mysterious disease emerged in Wuhan.
The Taiwan government began inspections of people who came from Wuhan from 31 December 2019, carried out quarantine, built a tracking system, and increased production of medical devices starting in January. Taiwan has not allowed the export of these items, including surgical masks.
The Taiwanese government’s quick steps are seen as related to the experience of the SARS outbreak in 2003 which was also first identified in China. Referring to the data of John Hopkins as of April 24, 2020, Taiwan reported 427 cases of corona, with six of them dead and 253 recovering. So far, the number of new cases added is still up and down.
4. New Zealand
The New Zealand government adopted an aggressive policy to stop the spread of corona in the country of 5 million people. Starting in mid-March, the government adopted a disease elimination strategy rather than mitigation.
Quoted from The Guardian, elimination strategies are very different from mitigation. With mitigation, responses increase with the development of a pandemic. More stringent interventions such as school closures are usually carried out to “curb curves”. Whereas with elimination, the government implemented strong interventions early to stop the transmission of disease.
After restrictions on travel and the imposition of physical distances, New Zealand imposed full area closure or lockdown starting March 26. Before that, starting March 15, the country required 14 days of isolation for all newly arrived in New Zealand and starting on March 20 foreigners were banned from entering the country.
So far, the strategy appears to have worked, despite the massive socio-economic impact. Referring to the data of John Hopkins, New Zealand reported 1,456 cases of corona, with 17 of whom died, and 1,095 recovered. The number of new cases has dropped significantly.
The Guardian reported that most of the new cases were residents returning from traveling and undergoing quarantine at the border. Several clusters of virus spread have been traced so that further spread can be prevented. Corona handling in this country is also supported by geographical factors, namely regions far from other countries and fewer flights.
Quoted from CNN International, Professor Michael Baker of the Otago University Department of Public Health – who also gave advice to the New Zealand government in responding to the pandemic – said lessons learned from New Zealand are a combination of science and leadership.
As of the first week of April, New Zealand has conducted 51 thousand tests, while Britain, which has a population 13 times larger, only tested 208 thousand people. He also expressed disappointment with the handling of corona in the United States and Britain which were considered to have more scientific resources.
On the other hand, Microbiologist at Auckland University Siauxsie Wiles said New Zealand did have to take quick steps because of limited capacity in hospitals. “In New Zealand we don’t have as many beds in the emergency department compared to other countries. Therefore, (Prime Minister Jacinda Arden) reacts quickly,” she said, as quoted by CNN International.