COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus has now been reported in at least 203 countries across the globe. All major countries in every continent have been affected and so far, the virus is still out of control. The international response has been active in trying to stop the spread of the virus yet the number of infected keeps rising on a daily basis.
So far, the number of deaths by this virus has risen to 50,000 worldwide. China has reported over 81,500 infected while more and more countries have begun large scale lockdowns and critical control measures to control the infection and prevent a global health disaster.
Almost all the cases have had some sort of direct or indirect exposure to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated. In this respect, countries of the world have taken up swift and drastic measures to keep their population safe from infection.
In this article, we’ll cover the steps taken by the major countries trying to combat this deadly virus.
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As the novel coronavirus spreads, more and more countries are reporting cases confirmed in their borders. International travel has been a key factor in accelerating the rate at which the virus had spread.
The countries affected so far are:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||532|
|Isle of Man||95|
|Trinidad and Tobago||90|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||8|
|Antigua and Barbuda||7|
|Turks and Caicos||6|
|British Virgin Islands||3|
|St. Vincent Grenadines||2|
|Papua New Guinea||1|
Information from worldometers.info
China has struggled to fight COVID-19 since the virus originated in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei provice of the country. The total number of infected has been reported to be around 81,500 and the death toll is over 3,300. Most of the cases are in the proximity of Wuhan city. However, the situation is now has improved with no new cases reported within the last weeks suggesting that the containment measures have been successful in stopping wider spread of the virus.
The government has imposed a full scale lockdown of the city, with door-to-door searches and mass quarantines. Moreover, the government of China has been criticized for trying to hide information regarding the initial virus outbreak from the public. Doctor Li Wenliang, who was silenced by the authorities when he tried to expose the virus outbreak, died on February 7 due to the infection, causing public outrage with Chinese social media erupting with profound grief and anger.
Many countries of the world have vocally spoken out against China regarding suspicions that the government had deliberately misguided the world about the severity of the outbreak by hiding the real numbers of infected. China has been quick to protest such claims. However, the country has confirmed that they will begin surveys on asymptomatic cases from 8th April which may show the true scale of the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been the primary organization in the United States leading the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The US now has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world at 237,800 cases being reported and the third-highest death toll at over 5,700 confirmed deaths.
The country has taken strong measures to contain the current crisis. These measures include imposing travel bans, closing borders to non-essential travel, screening of travelers at airports, operating quarantine stations for sick patients, tracking potential infections, imposing self-isolation and social distancing, developing tests to detect and diagnose the virus and broadcasting best practices to the public and encouraging citizens to stay indoors and avoid going out in public as much as possible.
A cruise ship in Japan, the Diamond Princess has been the center of attention for having 690 coronavirus positive passengers on board.
The cruise ship was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama with 1,045 crew and 2,666 passengers. The ship was flagged and quarantined after one of the passengers who disembarked in Hong Kong was later tested positive for coronavirus. The passengers who had been in contact with the man, as well as anyone developing symptoms like fever or flu, were monitored by health officials. Out of the infected 7 died.
The ship had been in quarantine for about two months. After heavy sanitization and disinfection procedures overseen by the Japanese Ministry of Health, the ship has now been cleared and declared seaworthy. However, when the ship will set sail again is yet to be announced.
Singapore has raised its coronavirus alert level. The current orange level was last reached during the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2009 H1N1 swine flu epidemic, which indicates the virus is severe and is easily transmitted between persons.
Singapore has confirmed over 1000 cases infected with the new coronavirus as of April,2020.
The UK has issued a health advisory that all who are experiencing flu symptoms remain indoors.
The authorities have also given instructions that anyone who has recently returned from Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or China be vigilant if experiencing cough or fever or breathlessness and report immediately to health officials.
On 27th March, the British PM Boris Johnson went online to reveal that he had been tested positive for coronavirus and is now in self-isolation at his home in Downing Street. He urged all the citizens to stay indoors and that accurate and responsible testing of the virus would allow them to defeat this disease.
The UK has over 33,000 reported cases of coronavirus infection and over 2,800 dead.
Despite a series of extreme measures employed by the government to halt the spread of the virus, including a nationwide lockdown and the shutdown of all non-essential businesses, Italy has been unable to “flatten the curve”. Slowing the spread of the contagion in proving to be an immense challenge for the country with an already overburdened healthcare system.
Italy has seen the most explosive spread of the virus since the pandemic began. The total number of cases reported is 124,632 and the death toll is especially high at 15,362. Experts say that Italy’s demography and unreliable reporting, as well as a weak health-care delivery system, played a key role in the disastrous spread of the virus.
In recent weeks, the number of ICU patients has dropped and the authorities are confident that they have managed to stabilize the situation and are optimistic that the number of cases will begin to drop soon.