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Lessons learned

Lessons from the countries that brought their coronavirus cases to almost zero

The following article written by Jason Beaubien for NPR attempts to harness the lessons for controlling the coronavirus outbreak from the countries that succeeded in doing so. Some of the countries identified in this article include New Zealand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

What were the common factors that led to these countries’ success? Here are a few of them:

  • Clear, straightforward, and coherent national plans for dealing with the health crisis
  • Faith in the government and experience of a united front which enabled countries to respond faster to the pandemic
  • “Apolitical” solutions wherein the coronavirus is framed as common challenge, and efforts to confront the health challenge are for the good of everyone

Editor’s Note: Today, New Zealand’s last remaining active case has finally recovered.  New cases are still being recorded in South Korea, but the country’s hospital system is more than capable of dealing with these new infections. Vietnam has been able to maintain zero deaths due to the  coronavirus. Some believe that Hong Kong experienced a second wave of infections, but that threat has largely passed. Life may have drastically changed in these countries (as is true for all countries around the world, whether they implemented a lockdown or not), but a semblance of normality is finally coming back. Majority of students are back to school and restrictions on businesses have eased a little. 

As new cases of COVID-19 continue to fall around the world, it is time to take stock of how your country has dealt with the coronavirus outbreak vis-a-vis these “successful” countries. Was your country successful at controlling the outbreak or not? Are lockdowns lifted? Where did your country excel, and what could they do better? What is your own role in ensuring that the lessons from this outbreak will be incorporated in future policies relating to emergencies? 

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