As countries in the Asia-Pacific region struggle with the rise of the corona virus, one data point directs the government’s response: a part of the case with no clear indication of how the infection occurred.
These patients cannot be associated with other confirmed infections or outbreaks that are present by virus respondents, indicating a hidden chain of transmission. An increasing proportion of such cases in urban revival drives the government, as in India Australia and Hongkong, to take widespread and blunt action, returning the entire city to its locked like condition.
“You can barely hold back the plague because you don’t know where they will come out next,” said Yang Gonghuan, former deputy director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “When there are more cases where its origin is unknown, it adds to the difficulty of holding back.”
Conversely, a small number of cases of unknown origin mean that the authorities can remain relatively relaxed – as in South Korea and Japan – even if the total new infections every day in the hundreds. These countries can take a targeted and agile approach, closing the schools or workplaces where clusters are found, but allowing the rest of the population to live normally.
This data point is a sign of whether a worldwide awakening will turn into a bigger wave, and if the population needs to prepare to return to lockdown. The following details the way the fireworks fight site uses these numbers to guide their responses:
Hong Kong: Tightest restrictions ever
The Asian financial center enjoyed three months of normal life before a shocking awakening this month that seemed to be the worst wave ever. “Origin of unknown” infections have jumped to half of all new local cases, indicating that they appear from all angles.
The former British colony reacted quickly, imposing strict restrictions on 7.5 million cities. Schools start summer vacation early while the bar, gym and beach are closed. Public gatherings are limited to four people and those who refuse to wear masks on public transport will be fined 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($ 645).
Melbourne: Back to lockdown
5 million Melbourne residents are in the midst of a six-week locking mandated by the government thanks to a new wave of coronavirus infections in the state of Victoria, 51 percent of which came from unknown sources or are still under investigation. Outbreaks extend to Sydney, raising fears that Australia’s largest city will become a new hot spot.
The lockdown, which includes a limitation of 3,000 residents in public housing tower blocks from leaving their apartments for several days until they are all tested, is reminiscent of the strict controls implemented in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus first appeared. That move makes Australia the only Western democracy which mandates that people cannot leave their homes.
Tokyo: Uptick is worrying
Called “infection by an unknown route” by Japanese officials, part of the case when the new outbreak began about a month ago was initially as low as around a fifth. This was quoted by the government as taking relatively small actions and continuing to open up the economy and society.
But the share of cases of unknown origin has now risen to around 53 percent, raising alarms. While the government has no legal force to force businesses to close, the situation has prompted the minister of economic revitalization Yasutoshi Nishimura to sound a coarser tone in night club, warning that some people may be asked to close if they don’t comply with the guidelines. On Wednesday, Tokyo raise the alert level to the highest level on a four-point scale and asking people to change their behavior to prevent further spread.
“We need to ensure that this wave does not increase in size and trigger an emergency,” Nishimura said on Tuesday. “I feel we are approaching the stage.”
South Korea: relaxed reaction
The country praised its success in taming the virus through rapid testing and aggressive contact tracing without lockdowns continuing to maintain relative calm in the face of awakening. This is probably due to the fact that only one tenth of new cases in South Korea in the first two weeks of July originated from unknown routes of transmission.
While the authorities have introduced electronic exit and entry systems into high-risk areas such as sports halls and nightclubs, they don’t have to impose broad measures that limit the movement of people even when new cases are every day ranging from 30 to 60 plus – sometimes more than Hong Kong Kong
The emergence of this category of cases and their influence on containment policies are caused by dangerous infections from coronavirus, qualities that enable their widespread spread in a short time. There are many things that scientists still don’t understand about how the virus behaves, including whether the virus stays in the air and for how long, and how the virus is traced to imported shrimp packaging in China.
“Such unexplained hot spots are still relatively few in this region,” Yang said. “But when they emerge, people have more worries about the future.”
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