Ground Report | New Delhi: The novel Covid virus has crept its way across the globe for over a year now, resulting in more than 170 million cases and over 3.5 million deaths. Some countries have dealt with these chaotic months better than others. Lockdowns were imposed at different times, various strategies were considered, and restrictions varied in severity from the government to government
Here are top 10 countries who handled the corona pandemic wisely
(1,375 cases, 18 deaths)
The first three COVID-19 cases were detected on 18 March 2020, and the borders were swiftly closed the following day. This was followed by a curfew, imposed on 20 March 2020, which evolved into a complete lockdown just four days later. Overall, strong leadership from political figures guided Mauritius to success. On 31 January 2020, a High-Level COVID-19 Committee was created to monitor local and international cases. The team, chaired by the Prime Minister, included ministers in charge of Health and Wellness, Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and Tourism.
The government also tried something not considered by some other political parties around the globe: it listened to the public. Several feedback mechanisms were put in place to understand public perception of COVID-19, including a coronavirus hotline, social media monitoring, and regular feedback from the Mauritius Police Force. They worked so wisely in controlling pandemics.
2. New Zealand
(2,673 cases, 26 deaths)
On 28 January 2020, the Ministry of Health set up the National Health Coordination Centre (NHCC) to respond to the outbreak. An Infectious and Notifiable Diseases Order was issued to take effect from 30 January 2020, which required health practitioners to report any suspected cases under the Health Act 1956. This was the first barrier of protection for New Zealand.
Travel restrictions to and from other countries were imposed as early as February 2020, and on 23 March 2020, New Zealand committed to an elimination strategy. The country had reported 102 cases and 0 deaths when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand was going to rapidly escalate levels of social distancing and travel restrictions, reaching the level of a full national lockdown on 26 March 2020.
Over a year since New Zealand’s first lockdown and the country is still swift to respond to new cases. In November, health authorities partially shut down the central city of Auckland, asking workers in the city to stay home after just one student became infected with COVID-19.
(6,555 cases, 29 deaths)
Health officials rushed in to contain the spread earlier than most countries, whilst the government quickly built a team of contact tracers. This team would interview those with a positive diagnosis, and track down people they’d been in contact with. As a result, the country has not faced one of the large-scale lockdowns seen across the world.
(62,051 cases, 33 deaths)
Timely preparation, aggressive testing, tracing of carriers, and a bit of luck has helped limit the impact of COVID-19 in Singapore. The city-state’s comparatively small population of 5.7 million people and experience of SARS in 2003 gave it the upper hand against the encroaching virus.
The government tightened border controls almost immediately after the disease first erupted in China – whilst also providing a clear public communication strategy. In fact, more than 90% of Singapore’s cases at the beginning of the lockdown were low-wage foreign workers living in dormitories.
The government also announced that pupils over the age of seven must use the city state’s contact-tracing app or wearable device from December 2020 onwards, to combat the transmission of COVID-19 to older family members.
(7,432 cases, 47 deaths)
The country brought in travel restrictions, closely monitored and eventually closed the border with China, and increased health checks at borders. Schools were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January 2020 and remained closed until mid-May. Plus, a vast and labor-intensive contact tracing operation went underway immediately.
Vietnam’s strategy worked extremely well – at least until July when an outbreak of the virus in Danang led to over 450 cases being reported in just one weekend. Fortunately, the government was ready to respond and decided to evacuate around 80,000 visitors in the city –where they were flown home promptly.
1 reported Covid-19 death per 3,366,140 people
Taiwan also provided intensive support, including stipends, to patients with Covid-19 and people with whom they had come into contact, helping to increase adherence to public health recommendations. These early actions were pivotal in keeping Taiwan to fewer than 800 cases all year, while avoiding lockdowns. The U.S. now has more cases and a death every 5 minutes than Taiwan has had all year.
7. South Korea
1 reported Covid-19 death per 63,290 people
When it became clear that people without symptoms could spread Covid-19, South Korea tested early and aggressively, conducting more than twice as many tests per capita as other countries in the pandemic’s first weeks. Along with other measures, including extensive and highly effective contact tracing and quarantine, this kept cases from increasing rapidly
1 reported Covid-19 death per 10,510 people
A few countries have fought rumors and distrust by sharing information with the public widely and openly. Finland, helped by its high media literacy, was able to build on a 2014 initiative that educated people about how to counter false information. One Finnish project partners with social media influencers to spread accurate information on digital platforms.
9. Hong Kong
1 reported Covid-19 death per 54,810 people
Hong Kong has one of the highest population densities in the world, yet it kept cases low by establishing mandatory isolation protocols and quarantine centers for people with Covid-19 and those who came in close contact with them.
1 reported Covid-19 death per 4,970 people
Some countries excelled at protecting people economically and socially. In Denmark, the government has covered a portion of employees’ salaries in private companies to avoid large-scale layoffs. Notable mentions go to India, the European Union, and Australia, which quickly provided income supplements to lower-income people using electronic cash transfers. Colombia went out of its way to protect vulnerable Venezuelan migrants, who weren’t eligible for cash transfers, by establishing shelters and food centers.