ADMIRABLE COVID RESPONSES AROUND THE WORLD

By: Rameen Kamran

On December 31st, 2019, a global pandemic (now known as COVID-19) shook loose and spread throughout the world. After a year of the world living in paranoia and fear, we are all finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel: a vaccine built to protect our bodies from the paralyzing symptoms of the virus. Countries around the world are finally starting to regain hope and trying to slowly introduce us back to how life used to be. However, the fight isn’t over just yet. There are still many unanswered questions that we must find the solutions to: how can we learn from this pandemic, so our future generations don’t have to suffer the way we have?

I live in Ontario, the most significantly affected province in Canada. It seems like every month things start to get better, and cases start to go down. Then, when life seems like it’s going back to normal again, the lockdown resurges. It’s a nasty pattern that many of us are sick and tired of living through. As a highschool student currently in my junior year, I am struggling to keep up with online school. All concepts are hard to grasp through a computer screen, and I miss the interactions between my teachers and my peers. I’m not the only one that feels this way. The whole country is in peril, and we each have to do our utmost to make the most out of this horrible situation. As life in Canada continues to be burdensome and grueling for all citizens, I started to wonder how other countries handled this fearsome situation. Which countries handled this pandemic effectively, and how can we, as a country, learn from them in case of future pandemics?

The first country that comes to mind when searching for the most appropriate response to the pandemic was Taiwan. Before the virus was even registered on the radar of the government, the country started testing and quarantining travellers coming from the birthplace of the virus (Wuhan, China). They used technology available in their country to trace suspected cases and provide them with a quarantine hotel and cab. They were also fully stocked on safety essentials such as face masks, medical officers, and lab capacity to handle any outbreaks prior to the coronavirus pandemic. They were prepared for the situation and handled it in the most responsible and beneficial way for the citizens of their country. We must learn from Taiwan to never waste our time when it comes to the safety of our citizens, especially when it’s a dangerous global pandemic.

New Zealand and Iceland are also excellent contenders for this category. Citizens in both countries were ordered to stay indoors very promptly to limit the spread as much as possible. Travel restrictions were also imposed as soon as possible, and they took a very aggressive approach for a full national lockdown. I think the most important factor of their success was how both countries handled the livelihoods of their citizens. They covered their expenses if an individual was tested positive and educated the people of the country on the dangers of the virus, so they are motivated to protect each other. An effective country responds to critical threats by being proactive instead of reactive. They grasp the issue at hand and protect the citizens of their country aggressively. The rest of the world can learn from their response to the situation and see that sometimes an aggressive approach is more effective.

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