Although the coronavirus pandemic has been global, each country has dealt with it in their own unique way. That’s why it can be instructive for anyone – from students doing online tutoring in Australia to doctors managing patients in Mexico –- to compare how different countries managed (or failed to manage) the pandemic.
4 Different Countries, 4 Unique Ways
Vietnam, a country of 97 million, has recorded around 1.25 million cases and around 25,500 deaths since late January 2020.
Shortly after the first case, the Vietnamese government started testing, tracing, and quarantining individuals in an effort to contain the virus. Early preventative measures worked, and the first death didn’t occur until July 2020. Multiple lockdowns were enacted over the course of the pandemic, with the strictest ones happening in mid-2021.
Generally speaking, the Vietnamese public has a positive view of the government’s actions during the pandemic. However, some of the preventative measures, like sentencing a man to 5 years jail time for flaunting lockdown laws, have been criticized as harsh.
Vaccines began rolling out in early March 2021, and as of December 2021, about 65% of the population is fully vaccinated.
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Australia, a country of 25.7 million people, has recorded 213,000 cases and just over 2,000 deaths since late January 2020.
Through a mix of contact tracing, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, Australia has been relatively successful in managing the pandemic. That being said, their success hasn’t come without controversy.
The city of Melbourne was in lockdown for a total of 262 days, the longest lockdown in the world. Also, the closing of the international border and the exorbitant costs of plane tickets and hotel quarantines resulted in thousands of Australians being stranded abroad – a policy condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee.
In late February 2021, vaccinations began. Although some are wary of the blood clot risks tied to the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, around 18.9 million Australians have been fully vaccinated.
Mexico, a country of 128.9 million, has recorded a total of 3.89 million cases and roughly 294,000 deaths since late February 2020.
Their approach to managing the pandemic has been less strict and effective than Vietnam or Australia. Although they’ve implemented social distancing policies and the widespread wearing of masks, the economy is heavily dependent on tourism. This means borders have remained open and negative COVID tests and mandatory quarantines aren’t required.
Vaccinations began with healthcare workers in late December 2020 and expanded to those over 60 years old. It has gradually filtered down to younger and younger people. Although it hasn’t been flawless, currently around 50% of the population is fully vaccinated.
A country of 60 million people, has recorded about 2.98 million cases and around 89,800 deaths since early March 2020.
Their strategy, like other countries, involved social distancing, masks, lockdowns, and restrictions. The first national lockdown in March 2020 was announced, and over the months, gradually loosened. Alongside this, measures were put in place to stop panic buying by limiting purchases. To stop price gouging, the government threatened fines and jail time. When lockdown reached its height, alcohol sales were prohibited to try and reduce alcohol-related crimes.
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Vaccinations began in mid-February 2021, and currently, a little over 35% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Although nearly every country on Earth has been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, each country has sought its own way forward. With the lessons above, we can find out what works and what doesn’t.