From Mongolia to Taiwan: Asian countries that have beaten the coronavirus with different strategies
China has managed to minimize new infections, but other states have also done so without applying draconian measures dictated by Beijing
On January 27, just four days after quarantine was declared in Wuhan, epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, Mongolia decided to close the main border crossings with China. And on the 31st he went one step further and cut all links with the neighboring giant. The country of Genghis Khan thus became the second, after North Korea, which decided to shield itself against the influx of people and goods from China, despite being its main trading partner. The reason why was not explicitly mentioned, but it is obvious: with a very basic healthcare system and a third of the population still practicing nomadism, the coronavirus could cause a huge tragedy among the Mongolian population.
The results are also more than evident: Ulan Bator has only reported four cases in the entire territory – one of them is French – and, since it detected the first, Mongolia decided to immediately ban all movements between cities. Following the recommendations of the Executive Director of the World Health Organization, Michael Ryan, the leaders isolated the country as quickly as possible and, in this way, have made it easier for the population to continue with their daily tasks without having to undergo quarantines. that have paralyzed activity in China. “The biggest mistake is not acting, staying without doing anything for fear of being wrong,” Ryan said last Sunday at a press conference.
Mongolia is not the only Asian country that has managed to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 with a different strategy than that of Beijing. In fact, the other China, Taiwan, has also taught an exemplary lesson in its particular war against the coronavirus. Despite the fact that it is governed by a consolidated democratic regime that dismantles the belief that only dictatorships are prepared to face situations like the current one, the island has registered only 77 cases, of which more than half have been imported from other countries, and only one has died.
Thus, the former Formosa has the lowest incidence in the hundred countries affected by the pandemic, a real achievement considering the socioeconomic ties that bind it to China. Experts say this is largely due to the country’s rapid readiness, which ordered all passengers from Wuhan to be checked on the same day that China warned the WHO of the coronavirus on December 31, last year. Unlike Beijing, which opted for extensive quarantines at the provincial and local levels, Taiwan has opted for surgical measures: it quickly identifies those infected and conscientiously searches for those close to them and those suspected of having contacted them to put them in harm’s way. quarantine without causing significant damage to the economy and social life.
In addition, and unlike what the European Union has done, that of Taipei was the first government to order the cancellation of all Wuhan flights, a veto that quickly spread to other Chinese cities, and which enacted sanitary controls and of temperature in airports, a measure that Spain has never implemented. As if that were not enough, the Taiwanese authorities launched citizen awareness campaigns in a matter of days. And the population, as diligent as the Chinese, despite enjoying all the individual liberties that the Communist Party denies, accepted the authorities’ recommendations without question.
South Korea has done something similar, a country that, unlike the North, has kept its links with the rest of the world open and has avoided measures as painful as those of China thanks also to a swift and determined response. Not surprisingly, it is the country that performs the most tests outside the Asian giant: about 15,000 a day, many of them in facilities where you can go with the car. Perhaps that has also helped make it the country with the lowest mortality from coronavirus.
The objective has been to detect the infected even before they presented symptoms to stop the active foci in their tracks. It is the opposite of what is done in Spain or Italy, where tests for the coronavirus are only performed on those who already suffer from any of its symptoms. Thus, although to date capitalist Korea has confirmed 8,320 infected, it has only registered 81 deaths. In comparison, 148 French have already perished, although the French country has only confirmed 6,633 cases.
With this strategy that combines control, prevention and awareness, universal health care, and rapid measures, South Korea has achieved something that seemed impossible at first, when the main focus exploded within a Christian sect: stop the spread of the coronavirus by its geography despite the high population density. “Without harming the principles of a transparent and open society, we recommend a response that combines voluntary public participation with creative technology applications,” said South Korean Deputy Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip. Undoubtedly, the civic and diligent character of societies in which the collective interest prevails over the individual has been shown as one of the main advantages of Asia, regardless of its political system, in the fight against the coronavirus.