In this paper, Dr. Virginia Bacay Watson highlights the steps taken by five countries to minimize the spreading of COVID-19 through a common thread of effective preparation, quick actions and effective, trusted leadership, despite different approaches.
All told, the quick, early, and decisive actions of the governments of Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam enabled them to manage the coronavirus spread. A legacy of a robust health-care infrastructure provided a point of departure for assessing additional requirements and priorities in both Germany and Taiwan. A legacy of experience and lessons learned with the MERS and/or SARS epidemics allowed South Korea and Taiwan to activate existing mechanisms already in place. The public-supported “go early, go hard” strategies of New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam accounted for a low number of cases at the onset. In all of the cases, leaders fully appreciated the severity of the situation and quickly developed responses that were timely and appropriate.