The number of new positive victims of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 is getting higher than in recent days. And for the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) called the disease a pandemic, to which WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom defined as the "worldwide spread of a new disease for which most people do not have immunity."
With over 118 countries affected by COVID-19, each of that country has adapted its own preventive measures to contain the virus. Here's the list of how the governments of these affected regions are responding so far.
[related: In Focus: How To Keep Safe From The Deadly Coronavirus]
South Korea is most affected Asian country by coronavirus infection with 7,869 cases. However, it has the lowest fatality rate with only 0.7% or 66 deaths. How did they do it? By doing pre-emptive actions. According to Reuters, South Korea is using fast food-style drive-thru centers to test for coronavirus. "We chose to test everyone who has been in close contact with confirmed cases. Rather than waiting for patients to come in, we pursued and tracked down possible patients to prevent spread within the community," Director of Foreign Press Relations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Seo Eun-Young said in a letter.
Taiwan has only about 47 cases so far and has kept its infection rate low. This is because of the country's preparedeness following the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS epidemic, wherein the government passed legislation to facilitate a more effective response to future outbreaks. As COVID-19 worsened in China, Taiwan produced and implemented a list of at least 124 action items that includes travel bans, border control, quarantine, social distancing, and more. Moreover, Stanford University reported that residents of Taiwan used QR code scanning and online reporting of travel history and health symptoms. Those who traveled in affected areas were to be self-quarantined at home and tracked through their mobile phones to ensure that they stayed home during the incubation period.
In Singapore, there are 178 active cases of COVID-19 and zero reported deaths. Like Taiwan, Singapore came better prepared for what's to come since SARS. And ever since the news about COVID-19 broke, the country's government officials have been transparent about the implications of the virus if and when it begins to spread.
To stress, when news from WHO about pneumonia cases in Wuhan was announced in early January, Singapore began temperature screenings at airports, and later on launched a multi-ministry task force to address the virus.
To add, Channel News Asia reported that The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has issued more than 7,000 Stay-Home Notices to Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore from mainland China, Iran, northern Italy, or Republic of Korea in the last 14 days. Updating on these individuals' whereabouts through photos or via their phone GPS location function has been imposed.
[related: RnR Recos: 5 Summer Staycation Ideas To Do Right At Home!]
As of press time, there are 987 confirmed cases and 29 deaths in the U.S. In a report, President Donald Trump suspended all travel to the US from European countries (except the UK) for 30 days. Major gatherings such as New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the largest such celebration in the world, has been postponed, same with the NBA season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert has tested positive for nCov.
Italy's confirmed cases rose to 124,518 with 4,607 deaths, making it the most hit country next to China. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has imposed a nationwide lockdown that will last through April 3 and has canceled all sports gatherings across the country. Schools, museums, theaters, tourist spots, and swimming pools throughout Italy have been closed, and weddings and funerals have been postponed.
ALSO READ: In Focus: Maricar Reyes-Poon Transforms Her Sweet Tooth Into A Successful Passion Project
Banner image by Rebe Adelaida via Unsplash.com