ASIAN HUBS offer model for tackling an epidemic. SINGAPORE, Taiwan and Hong Kong took fast and meticulous action :

Two hours. That's all the time medical teams in Singapore are given to uncover the first details of how patients contracted the coronavirus and and which people they might infect.

Did they travel abroad? Do they have a link to one of the five clusters of contagion identified across the country across the  city-state? Did they cough on someone in the street? Who are their friends and family, their drinking buddies and partners in prayer?

As Western nations struggle with the wildfire spread of the coronavirus, Singapore's strategy, of  moving rapidly to track down and test suspected cases, provides a model for keeping the epidemic at bay, even if it can't completely stamp out infections.

With detailed detective work, the government's contact tracers found, among others, a group of avid singers who warbled and expelled respiratory droplets together, spreading the virus to their families and then to a gym and a church - forming the largest concentration of cases in Singapore.

''We want to stay one or two  steps ahead of the virus,'' said Vernon Lee, the director of the communicable diseases division at Singapore's Ministry of Health. ''If you chase the virus, you will always be behind the curve.''

Singapore, along with Taiwan and Hong Kong, offers a successful approach, at least so far, in battling a pandemic that has that has infected more than 193,000 people and killed nearly 8,000 worldwide.

Despite being hit months ago by the virus, these three Asian societies have recorded only a handful of deaths and relatively few cases, although they continue to face risks as people people from emerging hot spots  in the United States, Europe and elsewhere carry the virus with them.

Early intervention is the key. So are painstaking tracking and enforced quarantines and meticulous social distancing - all coordinated by a leadership willing to act fast and be transparent.

In Singapore, the details of  where patient lives, work and play are released online, allowing others to protect themselves. Close contacts of patients are quarantined to limit the spread.

The government further strengthened its borders this week to protect against a new wave of imported infections.

The publishing of the latest global operational research on tackling the epidemic. continues. The World Students Society thanks author, Hannah Beech.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!