COVID-19 Regional Safety Assessment
Asia & Pacific
In Asia, as the problem fades from China, the pandemic is now breaking out in those countries which were never previously affected on such a scale. At the same time, other countries should consider the risks of a second wave in China and learn from the mistakes made and successes achieved. The total number of cases in China since the beginning of June has changed across very varying circumstances. As of 1st June, there were around 84 thousand total cases identified in China, a number that had remained more or less steady since the second half of April, when there came a slump after an initial peak at the beginning of the pandemic. During this slump, which was characterized by a much smoother growth in caseloads, the number of cases increased by 3% over the month from March 17 to April 17. From then up to June 12th, total cases increased only 0.6% in almost 2 months. But thereafter it began to rise at a faster rate and achieved 1.1% of growth in a shorter period of just 1 month, accelerating by about 2% per day for around 10 days from 12th July to 23th July and 3.3% from 23th July to 2nd August with slightly but steadily increasing rate of growth until now.
Hopefully it is too early to talk about the second wave of coronavirus in China, because these numbers do not accord with the previous ones at all. But it is nonetheless apparent that the virus is spreading more and more dramatically within some other Asian countries. The most unpleasant is the situation in India, both with regard to the huge total number of cases, which is far more than in the rest of the region (almost twice that of the rest of the region combined) and globally (4th place by number of cases to date). Of significant concern also are Pakistan, Indonesia and especially Bangladesh and Philippines, which are experiencing spikes. Such vulnerable countries as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Nepal also have a very high level of growth in the number of new cases. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are less at risk, but characterized by a significant number of cases, most of all Kazakhstan, where the cases are growing the fastest. New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as Malaysia and Thailand are among those major countries and territories where growth has been much slower than in the previous 2.5 months. This is also the case for South Korea, though to a lesser extent, which nevertheless is not a barrier for leading the region, mostly thanks to one of the highest levels of government efficiency and emergency preparedness. Despite the relatively high number of cases, Japan and Australia also have high scores and lead the way in safety against COVID-19 because of the numerous indicators of healthcare systems efficiency and efficient governance, with a high level of overall safety.