Coronavirus flare-ups in China and South Korea are prompting worldwide fears of a second-wave of the virus, especially considering China was one of the first countries to enact lockdown policies to fully flatten the curve. These new cases appearing in parts of Asia that have already almost fully recovered from the virus has other countries reconsidering reopening. To catch new infections and further trace the source of the virus, China is continuing to test its millions of residents. South Korea has also done the same and dispatched thousands of officers to help with the contact tracing.
Other parts of Asia, such as Russia, are still coping with their first-wave of the virus. Russia specifically is still experiencing 10,000 new cases every day, making them the country with the second-highest number of confirmed infections worldwide; trailing the US which is the most infected.
Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to originate from, is also mandating every resident gets tested again amid new cases appearing in China. Over the next 10 days authorities in China will be testing the 11 million Wuhan residents, which is a direct response to six new coronavirus cases appearing in the city.
The reason they’re mandating such a heavy response to six cases is because those were the first new cases to appear after 35 days; Wuhan lifted their 76-day lockdown on April 8th. In South Korea authorities are also demanding that all clubs and bars in the capital city of Seoul close down again after more than 100 new cases appeared that were traced back to the establishments. In Seoul specifically more than 8,000 police have been deployed to assist with contact tracing over 11,000 residents.
“If the government of Korea hadn’t done this, then there would be 119 people out there infecting other people. So that actually gets to the point of tracing people,” explained Dr. Jerome Kim, a leading epidemiologist in the country.
Back in Russia, healthcare professionals are coping with a hospital fire tragedy that killed four patients being treated for the coronavirus. This is the second fire to take place in a Russian hospital that’s been linked to faulty ventilator machines. President Vladimir Putin’s main spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has also recently been hospitalized amid suspicion that he was also infected. Peskov is just one of many men in Putin’s inner circle who have tested positive after working in close-contact with the president.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is confident that “ the country is on a steady path to ending its epidemic. [Our] government may lift the national state of emergency for much of the country as soon as Thursday — more than two weeks earlier than the current May 31 expiry date.”
Tokyo is likely to remain under emergency declaration, especially considering all of the international workers/individuals who have been flying in and out of the city before this pandemic to plan the 2020 Summer Olympics. For now, like most aspects of this pandemic, only time will tell how much worse it’s going to get in Asia, and how much we should use their experiences to better ourselves as a country.