Sunday, March 29, 2020

How India, Africa, Taiwan And Singapore Controlled The Spreading Of Coronavirus



India

India reported its 25th death from COVID-19 Pandemic so far. India is the world's second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people but only 987 cases of COVID-19 infections, 87 Indians have been recovered so far.



Researchers are trying to explain how India controlled the spread of the coronavirus. The Indian government took fast action as the virus spread from China. It limited to travel by suspending all visas and quarantining incoming travelers. All international passengers entering India were subject to health screening. More than 1 million passengers have screened at Indian airports.

In a new decision, the government announced complete lockdown over the nation and has banned all international flights from entering India for 21 days starting 24 March. Travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philipines, Malaysia has been prohibited. The same applies to passengers coming from the US, UK, and Turkey. If the relatively low number of cases continues. India's efforts could be a blueprint for other countries struggling with containing the spread of the pandemic.

Community transmission of COVID-19 has not yet occurred in India. People who contracted the virus did so from known and traceable sources. India.s efficient response reflects its reaction to previous disease outbreak, including Ebola in 2014, and Nipah in 2018.

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Back then, people quickly put into quarantine or under surveillance. Indian citizens have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. Indian citizens have been evacuated from Iran, Italy, China, and Japan.

Authorities took decisive measures to contain community spread such as publishing a landing page on the Ministry Of Health's website. The page gives the number of phone helplines, detailed advice, and guidelines. Authorities postponed the cricket league, schools, gyms and swimming pools in the worst-hit regions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that India's responses are impressive. India still faces many challenges including limiting unauthorized gatherings and fake health messages circulating on social media.

Africa

Africa is the least affected continent by the Coronavirus outbreak. The African continent is home to nearly 1.3 billion people. So far less than 2,500 cases were reported in about half of 54 countries. Nearly all the continents confirmed cases originated from travelers from Europe or East Asia. Scientists are puzzled by the numbers. They suggest different theories to explain the limited spread of the virus including climate factors and commercial routes.

A team of scientists identified Algeria, Egypt, and South Africa as most likely to import new coronavirus cases into Africa, But they also noted that these countries are least vulnerable as they have the best-prepared health systems in the continent.

Some experts suggest that the health infrastructure setup during the Ebola epidemic and the African country's coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) contributed to improving African public health systems. Favorable climate factors have also been raised as possible reasons why coronavirus is not spreading in Africa.

In a recent study, Chinese Scientists found that high temperatures and relatively high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19. But other researchers have doubts that weather is the main factor in reducing coronavirus cases in Africa.

Ghana and Kenya announced new measures prohibiting travelers from countries affected by COVID-19.

The Democratic Republic Of Congo imposed quarantine measures on travelers from Italy, France, China, and Germany.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that its biggest concern is the spread of COVID-19 in countries with weaker health systems."

Specialists warned of the risks of its spreading in Africa. Africa has close commercial links with China. Experts are worried about the fragility of medical services in many African countries.

Taiwan

Taiwan has successfully responded to the COVID-19 pandemic so far. It used Big Data Analytics, New Technologies, and active testing to identify new cases. Taiwan recorded 298 cases and 2 deaths so far. Taiwan had 2.7 million visitors from China in 2019. It was expected to have the second-highest number of cases due to its proximity to and the number of flights between China.

The country has 23 million citizens of which 8,50,000 reside in and 4,04,000 work in China. The restriction has slowly tightened in recent days. Taiwan constructed a national health command center shortly after the SARS outbreak in 2002. It included a central epidermic command center. It took extensive measures to identify cases imported into the country.

Officials boarded planes coming from Wuhan to asses passengers ordering those with fever into isolation. It merged health and travel databases in one day then made that information widely available for doctors and pharmacists to help identify new cases.

The government quickly stockpiled medical supplies. It also recruited hundreds of reserve soldiers to work on production lines for surgical and N95 masks.

By late January there were 44 million and 2 million each. It also restricted the retail price of masks to avoid profiteering. A rationing system was implemented to allocate citizens 2 masks a week.

It also aggressively tracked down 3 quarantine visitors coming from Hong Kong. They had disappeared for a week while they were ordered to stay in isolation. They were fined $3,000 each. The government also published the names of 3 others who had not gone into quarantine as ordered.

Authorities did not tolerate misinformation around coronavirus. They threatened $1,30,000 fines for spreading fake news and interrogating suspects who allegedly started a rumor that increased mask production was creating a toilet -paper shortage. Taiwan has a unitary government that allows fast response and management of health care for all citizens and regions of the country.

Singapore

Singapore had around 802 confirmed cases of coronavirus and no deaths for a total population of about 5.7 million. Singapore, an island, took aggressive measures to block the arrival of the infection from China. Three days after the Chinese authorities alerted the world about the outbreak of Wuhan. Singapore started referring inbound travelers from Wuhan, who have shown respiratory symptoms or fever for further assessment and isolation.

Singapore was also one of the first countries to cancel all flights from Wuhan, directly after identifying its first imported case. Travelers coming from affected areas were placed under mandatory quarantine.

Three university hostels were promptly converted into facilities to host them. The government compensated individuals and employers for any workdays lost. The Singapore authorities undertook intensive efforts to trace the contracts of people known to be infected. Hospital staff interviewed patients about their recent whereabouts.

When information was unclear or unavailable, authorities retrieved additional data from transport companies and hotels including CCTV footage.

The large gathering has been suspended, but to minimize social and economic costs schools and workplaces have remained open. Students and staff were subjected to daily health checks. Public-health campaigns were also reinforced to further improve Singapore's standards of cleanliness and public hygiene.

A special government task force recommended 5 personal hygiene habits:
  • Using a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Using designated serving spoons during group meals.
  • Using trays when eating or drinking to limit contamination.
  • Keeping public toilets clean and dry and regular handwashing.
  • The government has recommended the use of masks only for people who already are unwell.

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