Since the first reported case of coronavirus on December 31st, 2019, the world has adapted drastically to this new environment. Every country has approached the situation differently considering they all have slightly different circumstances. A few countries got their cases under control after taking the necessary precautions. Countries in Asia responded quickly after their first couple of cases and took control using contact tracing and by implementing travel restrictions. South Korea, in particular, has kept its contact tracing policies very strict. They track peoples’ movements through their cell phone data, credit card records, and CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage. They also had people scanning QR codes when entering public places. Asias’ travel restriction policy remains unbending. Nobody is allowed into the country unless they are citizens, or residents returning home. There are certain circumstances in which travelers are allowed to enter the country depending on their citizenship, their point of origin, and other factors. In addition to these precautions, they have also been administering some vaccines. Some countries have done so well with their cases that they got their numbers under control. Those include China, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea; they are all heading towards normalcy.
Africa is another continent that tried taking control of the issue right away. They took action quickly since their first case. Every country responded specifically to how their leaders specified, but they were relatively around the same cautions. Things started off well when the first wave hit, but by the second wave, they lost control and the cases rose quickly. Many countries shut down like most other places in the world. In July of 2020, 297 million students in Africa were out of school which led to many countries launching an e-learning platform. Even though they had restrictions for public places and using masks, there were little to no restrictions for traveling. Only a few select countries had the same travel restrictions as Asia. Africa did make a few advancements in its medical aspects, however. They started producing low-cost antibody and immune-based diagnostic tests. There isn’t much more information about how they dealt with anything else, just that there have been little to no vaccinations.
Oceania has had one of the best responses to the virus and has dealt with it almost completely. They once got to a point where their cases went down to zero, but when a few more cases popped back up they were quick to close things back down. They have been doing well with holding everyone accountable to get to the end goal of being covid free. The leaders of different countries in Oceania have created a “3 step plan” which includes all guidelines and restrictions for things like public gatherings, schooling, jobs, and international travel. Step one of restrictions for public gatherings say that small groups may meet but no more than 10 people. When gathering in people’s homes, the ten people include up to five guests and those who live in the house. Smaller venues go by this rule where there should be 2 square meters of space per person. There are tighter restrictions for higher-risk activities. Step 2 in the plan allows slightly larger gatherings with up to 20 people. Finally, step 3 allows for a 4 square meter rule instead of just the 2. People must also remain 1.5 meters apart, but the size still doesn’t pass 20. It is also highly recommended to avoid public transportation at peak hours.
Travel restrictions allow entrance into the country but again, depending on travelers’ citizenship, where they’re coming from, and other factors. It’s recommended that people work from home if allowed by their employer to avoid as much contact as possible. Workplaces also developed and implemented a “COVIDSafe plan” which is basically the same as the 3 step plan. Businesses also started reopening by step 3, of the 3 step plan. Social distancing is also required – staying 1.5 meters away from people – and wearing masks whenever one is in a public setting. It has also been highly encouraged that people maintain good hygiene. Oceania developed a unique way of contact tracing people who’ve come into contact with those who are infected. They developed a “COVIDSafe app” and people are encouraged to download it. An article by the Australian Government Department of Health about the COVIDSafe app states, “The COVIDSafe app helps state and territory health officials to quickly identify and contact people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 (called ‘close contacts’).” This has been a very efficient way to help catch and stop the spread of covid.
In Europe, as well as North and South America, vaccinations have been administered. Select countries have also opened in Europe, but entry depends on where the traveler is coming from and where they are a citizen. It is the same for travel in North America, but in South America, there are little to no restrictions. South America also doesn’t have the greatest contact tracing policies. People are encouraged to remember who they come in contact with and where they’ve been, but to keep students safe in school, seating charts are implemented so staff knows who is near who at all times; it is the same for North America. North America, on its own, does have some other restrictions on things like social distancing, face coverings, and protocol for public gatherings. Public gatherings have been minimized for less than 20 people. It has been encouraged that activities are done outside and that people maintain a 6-foot social distance at all times. Masks are also required when people cannot hold virtual events. Gatherings have also become shorter so that the time spent around people doesn’t exceed or get out of hand. When waiting to hear back from a covid test in North America, people are asked that they quarantine themselves for 10-14 days. Especially after visiting a different state or after going on vacation, people must not be out and about until they have quarantined and shown no symptoms. Masks are required when going indoors and when attending public gatherings.
Every continent, country, and even state has responded differently to the COVID-19 virus. By looking at all the different approaches to help stop the spread of covid, people can learn from those who managed to gain control of the number of cases and even deaths.