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How different countries adapt

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

We’ve written a lot about how different brands are responding and adapting to the virus, this week we wanted to look at the different ways countries are responding to COVID-19. 

Australia has based a lot of lockdown decisions on Singapore’s Coronavirus approach, but it seems the restrictions were quite different. Like Australia, Singapore’s schools were still open, but they had implemented daily temperature checks, staggered recess and wipe-down routines. Singapore has since closed down schools and moved to full time home-based learning. Another big difference was that anyone with mild symptoms went straight into hospital whereas in Australia, the advice was to self-isolate at home. Singapore has also been a lot stricter with quarantine and self-isolation measures. They are doing spot checks and video calling quarantined individuals at least 3 times a day to report temperature and health status. Anyone not complying is required to wear an electronic tag or is being detained to be isolated in a hospital. On the plus side, anyone required to quarantine receives a quarantine package with basic necessities. 

Like many Asian countries, South Korea was quick to implementing measures to stop the spread focusing heavily on testing. South Korea gave approval to four companies to develop tests to ensure they had the ability to do 20,000 tests a day. 

They introduced phone booth style testing facilities which allowed potential COVID patients to be quickly tested behind a protective barrier. Further to testing, they also had the ability to trace infected patients to where they caught the virus and whom they have been in contact with through the use of bank transactions, CCTV and mobile phone signals. 

A man speaks to a nurse at a testing booth outside Yangji hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on March 17, 2020. AFP

India has gone into a nationwide lockdown. And although the Indian healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed yet, Indian Railways suspended its passenger trains and is converting 20,000 train carriages into isolation wards for COVID patients. Each carriage will be able to accomodate up to 16 patients and can be sent to locations with hospital bed shortages. 

Handout photograph - Indian Railways

Panama has opted for a gender based lockdown. Women are allowed to leave the house to run errands for a maximum period of 2 hours on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays and men on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Everyone has to stay in on Sundays. They have also introduced a nightly curfew beginning at 5pm. 

Some countries however, are not acting quickly, or at all

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko is dismissive of the virus and has resisted a nation-wide lockdown. He's said vodka and regular trips to the sauna are ways to avoid getting the virus.  Unlike everywhere else in the world, Belarus has not placed restrictions on sporting events. And although fans fearing for their health start avoiding matches, worldwide, the football league is growing in popularity as it’s one of the only leagues still playing sport. 

Sweden has taken a relaxed approach to coronavirus asking citizens to do the right thing rather than enforce the measures. Unlike Australians, Swedes are less skeptical of the government meaning they are more likely to do the right thing. They have taken some measures like reducing social gatherings to 50 people, closed schools and universities and urged those most vulnerable to stay home but has kept shops and restaurants open.  And although they have avoided a mass outbreak like Italy and Spain, they have been told by Prime Minister to brace for thousands of deaths to come. 

Sylvia Jahn

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