The first global pandemic in 100 years exposed our weaknesses around the world. While misdirected and outright false information was being spread in some parts of the world, other countries acted quickly to slow the spread of the virus. I traveled in late February and got a distinct impression that the virus was on somewhere else. Even in a busy airport, I felt safe without a mask. But only two weeks later, international travel was suspended.
If you live in a country particularly badly affected by the virus ̵
5 countries that triggered their coronavirus responses
Cambodia: 16.25 million people
0 deaths, 273 cases
Pre-existing cultural conditions made it easy for Cambodia to stop the spread of the coronavirus early, with fewer than a thousand cases in the country. Many citizens already wore face masks to protect themselves from pollution. Cambodia was completely closed for a week and government officials donated their salaries to support the economy. There was also a quick response with contact tracing and quarantine of exposed people.
Taiwan: 23.78 million people
7 deaths, 487 cases
Taiwan had a plan for a global pandemic situation for years. For comparison: the United States resolved the pandemic response Team in 2018. Taiwan provided its citizens with easy, free, early access to testing. There are strict fines for those who violate mask requirements and quarantine. There is also strong cultural pressures to take responsibility for the health and safety of the community.
Rwanda: 12.3 million people
11 deaths, 2,717 cases
Rwanda doesn’t mess around with their tests. It’s accessible, free, and takes about five minutes. When people test positive, they are quarantined in a COVID-19 clinic. The officers then used contact tracing to identify a close contact that could also be at risk. Far from being abundant, Rwanda does use pre-existing equipment for HIV testing and conduct “pool tests” where samples are stacked to reduce the number of tests performed.
Vietnam: 95.54 million people
27 deaths, 1,022 cases
Tests, contact tracing, and strict quarantine prevented COVID-19 from spreading across Vietnam. By the end of April, Vietnam had by far the highest number of tests per confirmed case in the world. Communities with only one positive test were put on lockdown, resulting in just 27 deaths in a population of nearly 100 million. It would be like the United States had fewer than 100 deaths instead of nearly 180,000.
22 deaths, 1,683 cases
Heralded as a coronavirus success story around the world, New Zealand responded quickly by closing international travel, quarantining its citizens and preparing tests. Eight months after the pandemic, the island nation now has the most tests per positive case worldwide. They are back on hold as they witness the second wave of the virus – just nine recent cases.
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