COVID-19 has brought the world onto its knees. Global trade is slowing sinking, the markets are crashing, and the world is in a panic mode.
Worldwide, the nations are doing their best to control the spread of coronavirus and stop any newer infections from entering their country. Organizations and medical experts are also receiving considerable funds to fight the virus, but in the meanwhile, many it is showing no signs of slow-down.
Vaccines are one way out to contain the virus and stop it from doing any further damage to the world. While the development of vaccines is going on at a robust pace, it would at least take a month to begin their clinical trials.
The world might have to wait for another three to four months to conduct initial tests on humans and maybe another eight to ten months to develop the vaccines that could effectively fight COVID-19 entirely. On the other hand, vaccines are designed for the public in general.
Further research might be needed to conduct vaccine trials for pregnant women and people with chronic conditions. It is another added worry. While designing the vaccine may be the first step, producing it on a large scale and distributing it to the world would be another huge task.
But, can the world wait until then? Or is there another option that the world could rely on? Did the world have a better alternative to control the virus?
The Pro-moves of Singapore and South Korea
Yes. Nations like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and New Zealand are the answers, and the other countries might have been too late to implement those strategies.
Singapore stands out with its robust way to tackle and contain the coronavirus. In the last decade, Singapore was attacked with SARS and H1N1, after which they planned effective strategies that would help them contain if any such epidemics attacked their nation.
Soon, when COVID-19 hit Singapore, they implemented the measures which they planned earlier. They imposed strict travel controls, procedures to identify and help the sick individuals, zone out the affected areas, or inform people about the areas which were reported with coronavirus.
Soon, when it was on the rise, they canceled led large gatherings or events, closed institutes, and advised people to stay home. It helped them in lowering the possible spread of the disease, which reduced the burden on hospitals and also avoiding panic in society. By doing so, they were able to prevent loads on the government or medical centers.
South Korea is another such nation that took highly preventive measures when COVID-19 attacked the country. The fatalities in South Korea is around 270, one of the lowest in terms of its population density and the cases, while that of Italy’s is around 33,500. It just shows how early measures have helped these nations have better survival modes even when they have a large number of cases reported in their nations(1).
Of all the countries mentioned above, strategies of New Zealand and Hong Kong are worth noting. To date, Hong Kong had 4 deaths with less than 50 active cases, and New Zealand had 22 deaths and zero active cases. Both these countries have adopted swift surveillance, effective quarantine, and social-distancing approaches, which helped limit the spread. With life returning to normal, these nations are setting an example to control the lethality of a novel coronavirus, both government and its citizens should work hand-in-hand. The measures and the data from these nations are also giving focal points on how the world could control COVID-19 more effectively and efficiently. The data will also help understand the best interventions that can be introduced in other parts of the world. Notably, New Zealand’s elimination strategy of restricting travels, crowd gatherings, testing capacity, and easing restrictions based on the spread has proven highly effective.
However, some argue that these countries, specifically New Zealand, contained the spread because of its low population.
What are other nations doing to control COVID-19?
Countries around the globe are now taking such crucial steps to contain the virus. But most of them are too late to contain as it already spread out of control. Now, most nations have imposed travel bans for international travels; besides, China and Italy have also banned domestic travels alongside international travels. Most countries have set up quarantines in airports and inside the country to isolate the patients, which could control the spread to an extent.
But, still, the COVID-19 is spreading rampantly. It clearly shows that there are gaps in the strategies that are implemented by these nations to control the spread.
The cases of COVID-19 are growing, but we still can not assure if it is the right number, and there are chances that the numbers could be higher than what is told to the world. Why? Because the nations might implement test and quarantine centers where they feel that the coronavirus cases are in large numbers.
But they might not be able to track every incident that happens in every corner of the nation unless they have proper quarantine zones and testing centers in every possible region. Or the option is making it necessary for every small town to report any cases with symptoms of COVID-19 to the central organizations that can track it and optimize the measures to deal with it(1).
To control the spread, the US, Italy, and other European nations are now canceling many sports, entertainment, and other political gatherings that could worsen the scenario.
So, what could the nations around the world do now? Collect data. It is one of the vital aspects of understanding the spread of disease and also can aid in developing vaccines or medications. It can help the government or organizations in understanding the areas which are affected and thereby increase the necessary test zones or quarantines to control the spread.
Besides, making tests free and available in the reach would also not burden the people who would otherwise scare the people with burdens of medical bills and might opt out of the medical treatments.
Taiwan had a great strategy of controlling the prices on all the equipment that could be used to control the spread. It also deployed the government departments to increase production to fill the needs of all the protective equipment needed.
To tackle the misinformation, Singapore is giving out information on the latest updates regarding the COVID-19 using their official websites and social media channels. They have introduced test centers near schools, offices, government agencies, and social gatherings to check for the symptoms and thereby take the necessary actions.
They are keeping their citizens informed in every place by sticking out posters on the actions they should take with promising information. Besides, they are also imposing fines on people who do not follow the necessary measures.
On the other hand, to take the burden off of the sick people, they are also funding them to meet their basic needs. The small measures of systematic separation of the physicians and patients that are quarantined in hospitals from other cases are also helping them out in controlling the COVID-19 spread.
The world has witnessed way worse pandemics in history. On the positive note, we have advanced technologies and measures to control, unlike the past. If all the organizations work rigorously in modeling out the solutions and controlling the situation, we could all see a tomorrow, where COVID-19 would be a nightmare that has come and gone.