The Optimist Citizen

Which parts of the world are winning the COVID-19 battle and how?

Coronavirus has taken over all the aspects of the human race because of the widespread destruction that it has caused. It seems like we as a species are at war with this pandemic. And here are how some countries are fighting this war and how some of them seem to be victorious in this battle. 


New Zealand

Image: Al Jazeera

New Zealand confirmed its first case of coronavirus on February 28, well over a month after the United States confirmed its first infection. On March 14, it was announced that anyone entering the country would need to self isolate for two weeks, which was at the time among the toughest border restrictions in the world. Foreign nationals were banned from entering the country on March 20. On March 23 it was announced the country was entering “level 3” lockdown. Non-essential businesses were closed, events and gatherings cancelled and schools closed to all children except those of essential workers. At midnight on March 25, New Zealand moved to the strictest level 4 lockdown, with people told not to leave home except for essential exercise near the home, while maintaining 2-meter distancing. New Zealand also brought in widespread testing, with 123,920 carried out to date among a population of just under 5 million people. New Zealand has one of the highest testing rates per capita in the world, with the capacity to process up to 8,000 tests per day. On April 9, despite a decline in cases, Ardern tightened border restrictions so that all citizens and permanent residents arriving in New Zealand were required to spend two weeks quarantined in an approved facility rather than at home.

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Image Source – Tele Traders

The coronavirus pandemic reached France on 24 January 2020, when the first COVID-19 case in Europe and France was confirmed in Bordeaux. On March 16th, 2020, the President of the Republic announced measures to reduce contact and travel to the minimum throughout France, from noon on Tuesday 17 March 2020, until further notice. All Higher Education Institutions are closed as of Monday, March 16th, 2020, and until further notice. The government has announced a series of measures aimed at keeping its economy afloat and protecting against job losses. Some of those measures are declaring temporary unemployment where the state will foot most of the wage bill, help packages for self-employed workers, mortgage holiday, and suspended payments on rent, gas, and electricity for businesses and self-employed people.

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Image: Forbes

 The outbreak was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. A lockdown was announced on 23 January stopping travel in and out of Wuhan, which was extended to a total of 15 cities in Hubei, affecting a total of about 57 million people. China built two new 1,000-1,300-bed hospitals to fight the coronavirus, one created in six days, and the second in 15 days, using prefabricated modules. During the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, China set up large-scale surveillance systems that included contact tracing, a front- line public-health strategy that involves identifying and following up with people who may have come into contact with an infected person. The same technology was used again to track people infected with the coronavirus.

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Image: Bangkok Post

On 1 February, Vietnam kicked off a series of initiatives to tackle the spread of COVID-19. It suspended all flights to and from China. It also decided to keep schools closed after the lunar New Year break. Two weeks later, a 21-day quarantine was imposed in Vinh Phuc province, north of Hanoi. Its anti-coronavirus measures have gone on to include mandatory 14-day quarantines for anyone arriving in Vietnam and the cancellation of all foreign flights. Vietnam instituted rigorous quarantine policies and carried out a complete tracing of all people who came in contact with the virus. The swift decision making is what has been an advantage for the Vietnam government.  

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Image: Taiwan Today

Taiwan’s success in keeping COVID-19 numbers relatively low and manageable despite the high-risk factors is essentially down to its quick response. It had learned its lessons well from the SARS epidemic and took measures to ensure a well-coordinated epidemic prevention machinery. It merged health and travel databases to track and identify cases. Authorities also vigorously pursued quarantine violators and cracked down on misinformation and fake news. Taiwan has digitized disease monitoring systems, abundant stock of preventive medical equipment, and holds annual disease prevention and control drills. On January 21, Taiwan’s National Security Council convened to coordinate efforts between various ministries from health and transportation to labour and education. And by February 6 Taiwan banned all Chinese nationals from the island. All of these measures taken quickly means Taiwan today is well-prepared to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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Image: The Economic Times

It ceased all inbound flights from Wuhan, China, since 23 January and issued a travel advisory to its residents to avoid non-essential travel to Mainland China and defer travel plans to Hubei province. Thermal screening is implemented at checkpoints – land, air, and sea. Singapore closed schools and most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, as part of stricter measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

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South Korea

Image: Health Systems Global

It has shut down schools and imposed a curfew in some cities, but the government has sought primarily, in a highly targeted fashion, to isolate groups of people who are suspected to have been exposed. Experts say there are several measures it’s taken to achieve its results, including building a highly organized and massive testing capacity, and the government institution of tracing and isolation measures for people who have been in contact with the infected using its extensive surveillance and contact-tracing infrastructure. The government organized mass production of coronavirus test kits earlier than many other hard-hit countries, which meant that in late March the country had a per-capita test rate “more than 40 times that of the United States.” 

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Image: Forbes

The restrictive measures implemented in Finland have already clearly slowed down the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said. Since the coronavirus outbreak in Finland at the end of February, the Finnish government has carried out a series of restrictive measures to curb the spread of the disease, including closing the country’s borders, shutting down schools and other educational institutes, limiting public gatherings to ten people, encouraging remote working and sealing off travel to and from the Uusimaa province to prevent the spread of the virus across other areas of the country. Also unlike their neighbours, the Finns never stopped stockpiling after the Cold War. Now Finland sits on an enviable supply of medical and survival gear in the Covid-19 era. 

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India was hit by the Corona wave in March. Since then the Government along with the State administration has been working rampantly to curb the spread. Few cases have had successful or promising results. We have listed a few of those cases to give an idea of how well has our country fared while fighting this global crisis.



Image: The Economic Times

In February, when India’s first three coronavirus cases were being treated in Kerala, the widespread measures the state government put in place saw results as the daily hospitalizations of suspected cases shrunk consistently. Kerala’s attempts to tackle the disease have won the state government praise from other states and countries. Here are the various steps that Kerala has taken to combat the spread of coronavirus in the state. 

Contact tracing: With previous experience of virus containment at hand, the state health department initiated a massive tracking exercise to trace a person who came in contact with newly infected people.

Quarantine comfort: While the Centre’s period of quarantine is 14 days, Kerala is quarantining people for 28 days. Patients have talked about receiving their choice of meals, being provided wi-fi as well as counselling. 

c.Mid-day meal delivery: As the government announced on March 10 that all classes would remain closed till the end of the month, the CM assured that the government would home-deliver the mid-day meals provided at Anganwadi centres across the state.

Checking rail and road entry points: The train passengers would also get an SMS alert, saying they would be checked at the first station the train touches after entering Kerala. The state government has also identified 24 points in the border road areas of Kerala from north to south and a separate team, headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) will monitor those who travel by vehicles.

App to combat fake news: While the police have been directed to take stringent action against those spreading fake news, on Friday the Kerala government launched its app GOKDirect to disseminate information and updates on the outbreak.

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Image: The Hindu

Goa is the first green state in the country with no case of coronavirus being reported from April. The coastal State had a total of seven positive cases, of whom six had travel history and one was the brother of a positive patient. The Chief Minister said that from April 20, the government would scrutinize reports of its three-day door-to-door citizens survey done last week and decide on testing people for COVID-19 wherever felt necessary. The lockdown will continue till the Central government decides. Borders with Maharashtra and Karnataka will continue to remain sealed. Anyone entering the State under special circumstances will have to stay in a government quarantine centre. Sporting events, competitions, and religious gatherings were suspended with immediate effect, and vehicle rentals have also been suspended. All street food joints were shut until further notice. Non-essential facilities for the public like libraries, museums, etc were closed too. Distilleries were permitted to use their facility for the manufacture of sanitizers to overcome its shortfall. 

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Bhilwara district, Rajasthan

Image: Citizen Matters

A doctor in a private hospital in Bhilwara was tested positive for COVID-19. A few other doctors and nursing staff were the next to be diagnosed with the viral infection. Hospital records indicated that patients from 13 districts had visited the hospital during this period. The borders of the city were sealed immediately. More than 5,000 people who had consulted the COVID-19 positive doctor of Bangar Hospital, both inpatient as well as outpatient, were screened. Everyone in the city was screened. To break the chain of contamination, nearly 6,000 people were identified and put under isolation within 2 days. Further, all the patients who were in the hospital – hailing from 19 districts and four states – were put in strict isolation and a curfew was imposed within 15 minutes on strict orders without harming the supply of food and other essentials. Community leaders, religious gurus were roped in to motivate the public to stay home. 

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Image: Nagaland Post

The first case in the state was that of a 23-year-old woman who had returned from the UK. The state no longer has any COVID 19- positive case, as the second patient, who was undergoing treatment at a hospital here, tested negative for the disease. The 65-year-old patient was found to have contracted the disease following his return from the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi’s Nizamuddin. An official at the state health department said the man is likely to be discharged soon if he tests negative for the disease the second time. 

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