As the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeps the globe, we look to our leaders for direction and guidance. Donald Trump aside, it seems that most nations’ leadership and governments have taken a committed stance to fight this outbreak. Let’s take a look at some countries and what their governments are d
oing to fight this virus. India With a burgeoning population of over 1,3 billion people, many thought that India would quickly become a regional epicentre for the COVID Pandemic. However, it seems that the Indian government, led by Narendra Modi have managed to keep the spread in check – for now at least. India began mobilising countermeasures in early to mid-March, instituting travel bans and school closures across the country. On 24 March 2020, Prime Minister Modi announced a nationwide lockdown, beginning at midnight in a major effort to curb the spread of the virus. The lockdown has since been extended to 3 May, with the easing of restrictions coming into effect from 20 April for regions who have been able to contain the spread. A series of economic relief efforts have now been put in place, with billions of dollars made available to local states through economic stimulus packages. The most vulnerable have been offered food schemes and migrant and construction workers given cash pay-out relief. It now remains a matter of time to see if India can contain the spread and turn the tide against COVID-19. China The first country to report the COVID-19 outbreak in the central city of Wuhan, China developed the blueprint in the fight against the virus. Taking what some initially deemed draconian measures, the Chinese government acted quickly to seal off Wuhan and surrounding areas, effectively quarantining almost 60 million people. Images of deserted streets and empty highways stunned the globe. After two months of lockdowns and travel restrictions, it seems that China has managed to effectively halt the relentless march of the virus, with infections across the country having stabilised at around 80 000 people. However, many critics have questioned the accuracy of China’s reporting on the state of the spread in the country. In any case, China seems to be emerging from the crisis relatively unscathed while the globe watches closely as restrictions in the world’s 2nd-biggest economy are slowly lifted. South Africa Africa’s economic powerhouse acted swiftly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown on 23 March, commencing on the 27th with confirmed cases standing at only 402. A serious concern in South Africa, rampant poverty and parallel tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS crises threaten to overwhelm an already frail healthcare system, should the pandemic spiral out of control. With South Africa’s economy already on the back foot, the anticipated upcoming COVID-inspired global recession is sure to hit the country particularly hard. Facing an unemployment rate of over 25% and failing state-owned enterprises, much action will need to be taken to avoid a catastrophe.
So long as South Africa can stave off a major outbreak in the short-term, the government will be keen to address the nation’s other ailments and pull the country back from the brink. England Criticised for his government’s late response to the global pandemic, PM Boris Johnston himself fell victim to the scourge of the disease, happily overcoming the virus. With daily infection rates increasing, the government has finally moved to take swift action to combat further spread in the British Isles. With schools, pubs and restaurants closed from mid-March, and wide-ranging restrictions on movement and travel towards the end of that month, concerns were raised at people ignoring social distancing measures. The Coronavirus Act 2020 was implemented to great effect in granting emergency powers to authorities and working to protect members of the NHS. Many hope that the UK will soon begin to flatten the curve as the actions of the government slowly start to bear fruit. New Zealand A country of only 4.8 million people, New Zealand implemented major measures to address the outbreak on the island. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern soon announced sweeping action to restrict people to their homes, telling them to practice stringent social distancing. The results have been impressive. Following their own national lockdown, implemented on 26 March, by 7 April, daily recoveries had begun outpacing new daily infections and the country had effectively managed to ‘flatten the curve’ in a short period of time. With the world still firmly in the grip of the Coronavirus Pandemic, one might say that it is too soon to make a call on whether or not we’ve managed to turn the tide. One thing is becoming more and more evident, however – governments around the World are working hard to fight this disease. Bar the exception of a few, it seems that world leadership is taking a united and proactive stance against the disease. Let’s hope it continues.