While most English-language media, especially in North America, have focused since mid-March on figures relating to the ongoing health crisis in their own country and the often inappropriate antics of the current American president, a number of success stories in America. struggling against novel coronaviruses rarely commented on.
The two countries to be discussed here, Vietnam and New Zealand, differ in almost every possible way, but the actions of their governments and their emphasis on collective sacrifice can still provide lessons in responding to current threats and very real possibilities. it continues to disrupt normal life for some time to come.
It can be said that these two countries succeeded in their efforts because of the level of trust in the government that no longer exists in most western countries. This lack of trust is particularly evident in the United States, where ‘libertarianism’ and dogs eat dog capitalism which they win in real time.
On the other hand, with millions of Americans now unemployed, most of the country’s billionaires still see them lucky balloon, suggesting it might be premature to erase this kind of selfishness that disguised itself as ‘philosophy’.
Vietnam: the importance of public trust
While most of us have heard about other successes in Asia, Vietnam, a country of 95 million, has no record of death after reporting the first. two cases from Covid 19 on January 23rd., when a pair of Chinese citizens were found to have the virus in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
I have a friend, Rashta, who has been in the country since March 15 and can report to me from Hoi An, a small town in the center of the country, where he lives, most of the time the government is mandated, “They (authorities) are mobilized so fast. Lockdown is not difficult. The police come to check on us every week and also all hostels, resorts, other hotels where there are still guests … On another day or year, I might not like that, but now, that’s convincing! They have tabs on everyone! They put out articles about people who skip quarantine making the whole country find these people. I certainly had never seen anything like this before, but I could tell they had seen it. “
This readiness may not only be a consequence of Vietnam’s one-party government system, but also the result of a number of health crises this century triggered by new pathogens such as SARS and several Avian Influenza outbreaks, with small eruptions from the last reported recently. as this month.
Another factor might be the country’s long struggle for independence in the living memory of many of its citizens has created social ties that are not found in countries that have never experienced such disasters and are more focused on individual excellence, usually as consumers.
While testing, a key factor in other early success stories such as South Korea, has played an important role in Vietnam, such as George Black explained last week in one of the few in-depth reports I found when I saw the country in a major magazine, “What’s important is the ratio of tests to confirmed cases, and the ratio in Vietnam is almost five times greater than in other countries. The test was followed by strict contact tracing (including secondary contact) for anyone known to be infected, isolation was immediately followed by quarantine, and the creation of a fast real-time database and two cellular applications with which people could record their health status and symptoms. “
Regarding the test, which was received by him and more than 30 other foreigners in the same hostel, Rashta told me, “We went in a group one day to the testing facility. Wow, that bad. The test that I mean. I’m messy but it’s necessary and I’m happy to obey it. The Vietnamese here are very good, they feel bad about that I can say, but we have to do it. All foreigners traveling. We were all declared negative; we found it 2 days later and were very happy. “
Although they were found not to suffer from the disease, the authorities continued to follow up with him and other tourists who lived in the same hostel and provided timely information when the country slowly began to return to normal life, “We have an application that we were asked to send daily declarations through. “Having all the info about kasing is the best. They have around 39,000 in quarantine. But only 270 are sick enough for the hospital. They are not overwhelmed, which is why the treatments are very good and they really can treat patients. Which means there is no death. They started to open the province very slowly. Bars and restaurants have curfews, closes at 9. People start going out again and the streets look crowded. “
While considering the country’s authoritarian form of government, as a country with limited resources, Vietnam has shown the world that readiness in matters such as PPE (along with people accustomed to wearing masks and practicing social distance due to previous health crises) and using a testing capacity that is available in the most efficient way can prepare a country for not only what is expected to be a single wave of cases, but anything that might happen.
“Be strong. Be kind. “New Zealand’s progressive response
With only 17 deaths and the number of new infections close to zero, other countries that have become an example for the whole world, especially other representative democracies, may be the only thing we can say has a truly progressive government in the English-speaking world. : New Zealand.
The country’s government claims it has now practically removed the virus after five weeks lock steps much tighter than we have ever seen in North America. At the same time, with only one neighbor, a population of 5 million and less population density than most other developed countries, it is important to note that this country started in a far better position than larger countries like the US and Britain.
However, one mistake made in other countries is to concentrate on short-term economic damage when a crisis starts; Siouxie Wiles, Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, to the BBC“The key to New Zealand’s response to Covid-19 is that the prime minister and the government appear to prioritize public health, while other countries which delay implementing social distance measures for fear of economic damage now have a much harder time controlling the virus. “
Adding to the effectiveness of this approach is the leadership shown by the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, who stresses empathy for the suffering of important workers and protects citizens in Official public briefings and other casual Facebook live chats in stark contrast with the self-development of the current US president.
An interesting aspect of the country’s plan to gradually alleviate the protection of dwellings in place of orders that could be useful elsewhere is the concept of letting citizens expand on their own Bubbles social bubbles ’ outside their home. This means enabling every household, while maintaining social distance, to socialize with close family or friends in their environment, allowing much-needed human contact while ensuring easy tracking in case of a new wave of infection.
One thing that is surprising about the examples provided by Vietnam and New Zealand is how important social solidarity is to successfully deal with this highly contagious disease. As Van Jackson, a former Obama Pentagon official currently works as a university lecturer in New Zealand recently told NPR the state approach, “If we are all together, then we will really get through it better and faster.”
It might not make a difference, but one must explain this simple idea to those who put others in danger by holding large public demonstrations demanding things like ‘the right’ to get a haircut or to shop for items that are not important during a pandemic .
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