Countries with the best response to the COVID-19 crisis

  • the world wearing a mask
    Shutterstock.com
Article
Published 2020-06-22 11:00

It wouldn't be wrong to say that the coronavirus pandemic hasn't spared any country. Today, we have more than 9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world and a death toll of nearly 500,000. On the other hand, you will agree that some countries had a better response than others. Let's take a look at the measures they took to protect their populations.

Asia

While China is where it all started, now facing a second wave, it's worth noting that several Asian countries have remained stable for the past few weeks. As surprising as it may seem, Vietnam has a record of only 335 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for a population of 97 million. Besides, there was no coronavirus-related death in the country. The country was locked down on April 1, 2020, but restrictions were lifted in early May. How is it that the pandemic has not been as fatal as in other Asian countries? Perhaps because the Vietnamese are used to wearing a mask regularly due to pollution issues? To kickstart the tourism industry, Vietnam has lifted its border restrictions.

South Korea, Taiwan, as well as Japan, also stand out for the way in which they handled the health crisis. With a population of 52 million people, South Korea had 12,257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 280. Despite a quite flexible lockdown, firm sanitary measures were taken, such as the closing down of schools and shops, the ban on events, as well as a massive COVID-19 screening campaign and strict quarantine for those who were infected. Taiwan had 445 confirmed cases and only 7 deaths out of a population of 23 million. The country was quick to react by setting up a Central Command Center for Epidemics from January 21, 2020. Specialised hospitals were set up, and infected people were isolated. Also, as of March 19, all travellers entering the country are quarantined.

Europe

Almost always topping the lists of the best countries for quality of life, Scandinavia remains ahead of the rest of Europe. In Norway, with a population of 5.546 million, there were 8,692 confirmed cases and a death toll of 243. It's worth noting that life in Norway is back to normal since March 13, 2020, after a flexible lockdown. Could it be because its population is dispersed over a vast territory? Still, there hasn't been any new case in Norway for the past 3 months. Schools and kindergartens have resumed since April 20, and bars have reopened on June 1. However, Norwegians are advised not to travel unnecessarily until August 20, 2020, at least.

We cannot omit Germany, a country that is already preparing to welcome foreign nationals. Germany has one of the world's best health systems according to the World Health Organization (WHO) --which probably explains its effective response to the pandemic. COVID-19 screening campaigns were set up at a very early stage, and protective equipment was provided to the population. Out of a population of 81,478 million inhabitants, Germany has 190,179 confirmed cases and a death toll of 8,927. The lockdown ended on April 20.

With 37,672 confirmed cases and 1,523 deaths, Portugal started to breathe again since May 4. What's more, the national airline company, TAP Air Portugal, resumed its operations gradually since May 25 -- allowing the repatriation of a large number of Portuguese nationals who were overseas.

Oceania

After almost a month with no new cases, New Zealand recorded two new cases this week. The total of confirmed cases is therefore 1,157, including 22 deaths. Nevertheless, the country has been praised by several nations for its government's response. You will recall that New Zealand imposed strict travel restrictions on February 28 when the first case was reported, and non-essential businesses were closed down. Also, anyone entering New Zealand is quarantined upon arrival. Many other conditions have to be respected by travellers.

Australia, for its part, announced this week that it is not going to lift travel restrictions until 2021. Today, Australia has a record of 7,300 confirmed cases and 102 deaths. Preventive measures and social distancing are still highly recommended. However, the Australian government is considering measures for allowing the arrival of students and long-term visitors.

Americas

In North America, Canada is doing better than the USA, even though 40 new deaths were announced this week. Canada, therefore, has a record of 99,853 confirmed cases and 8,254 deaths, so preventive measures are still highly recommended. Besides, Canada and the USA have agreed to extend border restrictions until July 21 at least. Only essential travels will be authorised.

Thanks to its isolation policy, Argentina avoided chaos, unlike neighbouring Brazil and Chile. Moreover, lockdown in Argentina lasted until June 7, which is the longest period worldwide. The country recorded a total of 35,539 confirmed cases and 913 deaths. Note that Argentina lockdown was imposed on March 20 after the first coronavirus-related death was announced on March 7, 2020.

Africa

Africa seems to be the continent least affected continent. While South Africa is the most affected country, with more than 112,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of more than 2,200, followed by Egypt and Nigeria, other countries have performed relatively well. Morocco, for example, is praised for its crisis-management strategy, with only 216 deaths out of a total of 11,279 confirmed cases. Besides launching a mobile application to combat COVID-19, Morocco has also manufactured its own artificial respirators. This week, the lockdown was brought to an end with the reopening of beaches, cafes and restaurants. 
 
Tunisia also stands out with 1,160 confirmed cases and 50 deaths. However, following the announcement of new imported cases this week, the Tunisian government is putting more emphasis on measures such as compulsory quarantine on arrival, as well as laboratory analyzes and data collection at borders.

What do different nations around the world have to say?

A survey carried out by the Alliance of Democracies foundation questions citizens of 53 countries on their perception of how their respective governments handled the health crisis in a democratic way. More than half of the respondents believe that their respective governments have reacted well to the crisis. 28% of them claim that their governments have not taken adequate measures, and 17% claim that their governments have done too much. Among the most satisfied nations are the Greeks (89%), followed by the Taiwanese and the Irish. Australians, Danes and Koreans also believe that their respective governments have fairly handled the COVID-19 crisis. On the other hand, Brazilians (34%) and Chileans (39%) are the most dissatisfied, followed by the French and the Spanish.

9 Comments
NomadBob123
NomadBob123
2 weeks ago

Yeah not agreeing with article at all. Sorry, but you have to base it on population as well. And we also have to base it on how many countries are actually tracking it full time, how they are tracking it, and while I love SE Asia, I believe and actually know they are playing with their numbers. All the bars in Thailand, Vietnam, and Philippines did not even shut down until late March so to say they only had a few cases is a bunch of bull poo...smile. But I hope everyone stays safe and I am sure we will get back to some level of normalcy in due time...cheers

Reply
NdzM5
NdzM5
2 weeks ago

I find it disingenuous, if not ridiculous, to attempt to make a country-to-country comparison of COVID-19 reporting when it's very likely that each country uses different methodologies for testing and reporting the virus as well as identifying COVID-19-related deaths. Fail.

Reply
cruffman
cruffman
2 weeks ago

i have read a lot of opinions on the way countries have dealt with the pandemic, and the kudos have always been reserved for the major countries, like Taiwan, and Japan, and South Korea. well, the caribbean has done better than most. Jamaica has had 10 deaths. some of the islands have had none whatsoever.

Reply
parrotsrest
parrotsrest
2 weeks ago

The more underdeveloped the country, the less accurate the reporting. The less dense the population the less the virus is communicated. In many countries when an elder dies they are quietly buried in the family plot with little if any reporting. In highly developed countries the some hospitals report any death that could possibly be attributed to covid as such to receive government per case reimbursement. A diagnosed death rate per population with a density factor would be the most accurate comparison, but even this would be grossly inaccurate, IMO.

Reply
QPR_FC
QPR_FC
2 weeks ago

Vietnam still has closed borders, unlike this article suggests, until at least 30th June 2020 and an announcement is expected on Monday 29th June about keeping restrictions at the border or to re-open.

Reply
blackjack2010
blackjack2010
2 weeks ago

Sorry your figures are wrong and cut and paste from the media = the real figures are far from the death figures you shared with us. THe real figures are coming out as slow as they are. WHO has even revised their figures.

Reply
Winston154
Winston154
2 weeks ago

Vietnam started to shut down on the 24 January. Schools and universities was closed . All Chinese tourists was rounded up and sent back to China . Flights from China was cancelled immediately. This government has done a fantastic job at containing the virus. They were so quick off the mark , no hesitation or delay . That’s why there have been no deaths and most of the infected was Vietnamese who came back from Europe.

Reply
ADakas
ADakas
2 weeks ago

Country comparison on COVID-19 cases & deaths should be done initially per a common denominator (then another comparison can take place based on each country’s size), counting the cases and deaths for every 1,000,000 we have another country which outperformed Norway, Germany and Portugal: Norway cases/1ml=1567, deaths/1ml=44 Germ. cases/1ml=2334, deaths/1ml=110 Port. cases/1ml=3665, deaths/1ml=148 Greece cases/1ml=309, deaths/1ml=18 Note, Greece has a population of 10.72million with confirmed cases so far of 3310 and 190 deaths.

Reply