What the World Can Learn from Asia’s Coronavirus Battle

The spreading coronavirus has health officials from the U.S. to Europe searching for answers. To find them, they could look to the experience of Asia, which has been battling the deadly pathogen since January — with some success.

In a little over two months, the highly-contagious disease has traveled from its epicenter in Wuhan, China to at least 108 countries, sickened over 119,000 and killed more than 4,200 people. Governments everywhere are struggling to curb outbreaks, locking down their borders and shutting down large parts of their economies.

Even before Covid-19, China, Hong Kong and some Southeast Asian nations had weathered the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and, more recently, the onset of MERS and swine fever, giving them experience in tackling the spread of infectious diseases, said Kenji Shibuya, a professor at King’s College London and former chief of health policy at the World Health Organization. “They have accumulated knowledge and practices, so there’s room for other countries to learn from these experiences.”

While it’s too early to say the novel coronavirus is defeated in Asia — even with China claiming its epidemic has peaked — the Asian experience can be instructive for western nations now facing down the threat.

Read more to find out how they’ve done it:

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In This Story: COVID-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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