How countries said to have handled coronavirus the best did it

The novel coronavirus has quickly found its way around the world in just over a year, resulting in nearly 64 million cases and nearly 1.5 million deaths.

Inevitably, some countries have weathered these unprecedented times better than others.

Bans were imposed at different times, different strategies were considered, and the severity of the restrictions varied from government to government, the reports Manchester evening news.

This week, as the UK hit the tragic milestone of 100,000 deaths, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had “taken full responsibility” for government actions and “deeply regrets every life lost”.

While other countries imposed strict travel bans and quarantine rules on their borders, the UK waited until June to introduce mandatory quarantine for international arrivals and created “corridors” to allow unrestricted travel.

But which countries have dealt best with this pandemic? And is there any reason certain countries haven’t had that many cases?

Here are some of the countries that have been widely acclaimed for their response to the pandemic – and what they have accomplished.

Taiwan

Population: 23.8 million; Cases: 895; Deaths: 7

The coronavirus pandemic had little impact in Taiwan compared to other countries.

Located just over 80 miles off the coast of mainland China, with many residents frequently flying between the two, it was vital that the country acted quickly as the virus spread – and it did.

The number of active cases was just over 300 in April, and the country recorded just seven deaths in total.

Only a handful of cases were submitted domestically, with the vast majority being imported from abroad.

The early success in containing the virus has been attributed to the screening of flights from mainland China when cases first emerged in 2019, as well as targeted tracing of contacts.

Taiwan used new technology and data from its national insurance and immigration databases to identify potential cases and implemented strict quarantine measures.

The country also banned the export of face coverings soon after the first case was identified to protect PPE supplies.

Taiwan closed its borders to foreigners on March 19, except in very limited circumstances.

Anyone admitted to the country, including Taiwanese nationals, must go through a 14-day quarantine upon arrival – either in a one-person residence or in a quarantine hotel.

New Zealand

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Population: 4.9 million; Cases: 2,299; Deaths: 25

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s “Zero Covid” approach to the pandemic has been one of the most successful.

The country pledged to fully eradicate the disease, which it did in July after Ms Arden realized that flattening the curve would not be enough and the country’s health system would not handle a major outbreak.

Border closings and a strict lockdown in March have been attributed to the eradication of the disease.

After 102 days of no community broadcast, four cases were reported in Auckland on August 11 and the city was immediately put back into lockdown.

The country eradicated the spread of the community and the entire nation was back on “Alert 1” by mid-October, with no restrictions on personal movement or large gatherings.

Individuals entering the country from abroad must register with a government-run isolation facility and return two negative test results prior to departure.

This month the government announced that negative Covid-19 tests would also be required for people flying to New Zealand to stop any virus imports.

Vietnam

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Population: 96.5 million; Cases: 1,553; Deaths: 35

Border closings and strict isolation rules also helped Vietnam control the virus early on.

Foreign travelers were banned from the country on March 22, and returning Vietnamese nationals were required to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

National isolation followed for 15 days and the nation had no community broadcasts for more than three months.

In July, an unresolved group of cases broke out at a hospital in Da Nang, a popular beach destination in central Vietnam.

Around 80,000 people were evacuated from Da Nang to cities across Vietnam before the city was locked again.

The country’s first coronavirus death was recorded on July 31.

In addition to strict border controls, Vietnam has been praised for its cautious approach to self-isolation.

With limited tests available in Vietnam, even remote contacts of infected people have to self-isolate, while entire communities have been locked down after just one positive test.

In December, the country confirmed its first case of local transmission in 89 days.

Health officials ordered 137 people who had been in contact with the man to stay in a central quarantine facility and close an English center where he works as a teacher, local media reported.

Iceland

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Population: 356,000; Cases: 6,001; Deaths: 29

Many countries claim to be led by scientists in their response to the pandemic, and Iceland certainly was.

Daily briefings on the coronavirus situation in Iceland are held by scientists rather than politicians, and contact tracing relies heavily on science and technology.

Scientists sequence the genome of every case of the virus they find.

That means they can find out where it has spread from and to – and they can see when new variants from abroad have reached the country.

Iceland’s chief epidemiologist Dr. Thorolfur Gudnason even has the authority to carry out a lockdown without government permission – an authority he did not need.

Testing began a month before Iceland identified its first cases of the virus in early March.

It was found that the cases were imported from Italy. As a result, all arrivals from the country had to be quarantined for 14 days.

Shortly thereafter, sanctions were imposed on people with a prison sentence of up to three months who violated the quarantine rules.

People who are quarantined have also received their full government salaries.

In October Iceland reintroduced a meeting limit of 20 people and ordered bars, gyms and entertainment venues to be closed.

So far, only 29 deaths have been recorded in the country.

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