Asian strategies against Covid “from the source”

Direct contact with local sources has recently enabled us to obtain information, in an objective and unbiased manner, from two territories that are particularly exemplary in the management of the ongoing pandemic crisis, namely Taiwan and South Korea.

These two cases give us all the reasons that allowed them to have what can pass for an “Asian advantage” in this very same crisis. The use of Big Data technologies is primal, as is the debate over the hindrance to individual liberties that geolocalized surveillance of patients with the aim of curbing the epidemic, but it is difficult to deny the edge that these technologies offer, particularly in avoiding a generalized containment in the image of Europe.

These same technologies also served us directly, when the identification of a patient in Taiwan on 25 January retraced her entire journey… from France. This chain of contamination was brought under control following the information transmitted by the Taiwanese health authorities.

The remembrance of SARS in 2003 and the MERS in 2015 are events from which the leaders have learnt lessons. However, the discipline and vigilance of Taiwanese and South Korean companies living in a situation of almost permanent war with their unpredictable neighbors, combined with a strong pragmatism, now allow economic activity to continue without significant decline, according to the public authorities.

This is an enviable exception. As Square Associates Consultancy, our partners based in Singapore, present us with clarity and precision, the difficulties are considerable for European companies hit hard by the current economic crisis, and require all the help they can get.

In a context that should certainly not be one of systematic competition towards good practices, but on the contrary of experience sharing, within the framework of the WHO or in parallel, or even outside existing multilateral bodies, these “Asian success stories” will undoubtedly serve as examples, beyond the simple calculation of GDP or statistical wealth creation.

Jean-François Di Meglio, president of Asia Centre.

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