The relative global successes of strategies to control the COVID-19 pandemic, keep their economies afloat and avoid longer, harsh lockdown measures are markedly skewed towards the Asia–Pacific region. These successes are largely attributable to the urgent action taken by many Asia–Pacific jurisdictions to eliminate community transmission through a series of non-pharmaceutical interventions: a ‘zero-COVID’ strategy. In parts of western Europe and the Americas, premature easing of restrictions has preceded resurgences of SARS-CoV-2 infections. These countries are confronted with the challenge of devising new strategies that give precedence to the health of citizens, whilst minimising further economic damage, often in climates of reduced public compliance and government mistrust. The danger of reimposing restrictions on population movement, in the absence of policies that enable a zero-COVID strategy, are unsustainable lockdown–and–release cycles that compound the pervasive damage created by this syndemic. Aspiring towards the approaches observed in Taiwan and New Zealand, can considerably mitigate further devastation, at least until science permits a safe and effective vaccine.


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Patel, J. & Sridhar, D. 2020, 'We should learn from the Asia-Pacific responses to COVID-19', The Lancet regional health, December 2020, Volume 5, article no: 100062. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100062

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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