Japan could have done “much better” on coronavirus

I had the strong impression that Japan and South Korea have done extremely well in dealing with coronavirus. 

The death toll has been relatively low and lockdown has been largely lifted in both countries already. In recent weeks, much of the international media praised their governments.  

I was therefore surprised when I read a piece of analysis put together by the research arm of British magazine The Economist which gave them both a mediocre rating for their response to the pandemic.

Not enough tests

Japan received a poor mark in terms of the number of coronavirus detection tests but scored high in regard to its health care system and coronavirus death toll. This week, Japan lifted all curbs on domestic travel and the government will also allow up to 1,000 people to gather at indoor and outdoor events. 

South Korea, which was praised for quickly stopping an outbreak escalating through a test and trace regime, was also given a “fair” score in the report. Total infections in that country reached 12,306 this week, with 280 deaths.

I downloaded the report from the Economist’s website but it didn’t offer any explanation on why South Korea had not come higher in the rankings. Was it because it suffered a second wave of the disease after people went out to clubs and churches following the easing of restrictions, I wonder? 

Britain’s blunder

I wasn’t surprised, unfortunately, to see the low score given to the United Kingdom which is regarded as having been “very poor” in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. It ranks near the bottom of a global league table. 

New Zealand got the highest score while Belgium took the lowest.

All of this raises concerns about what will happen if there’s a second wave of the disease.

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