Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


NZ Can Look To East Asia To Prepare For Next Pandemic

Wellington, 25 May 2020 - To prepare for the next virus pandemic, New Zealand has plenty to learn from the successes of three East Asian states, according to a summary report from The New Zealand Initiative.

Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan all successfully “flattened the epidemiological curve” early in their Covid-19 pandemic responses. They managed to do this while keeping their domestic economies mostly open.

Since the Initiative wrote its company profiles on the East Asian states back in April, both South Korea and Singapore were hit with new outbreaks of Covid-19. Taiwan, however, appears to be on top of its virus containment strategy.

Author Leonard Hong recognises the importance of these fresh outbreaks in Singapore and South Korea but says they do not negate the robust preparations set up by the two Governments.

Indeed, the speed at which both countries managed to supress and control the new outbreaks reinforces the high-quality of their epidemiological infrastructure.

“The latest outbreaks are essentially a second wave, which means their health systems flicked back into ‘stamp-it-out’ mode once again. So far, both countries are showing solid success once more at stopping the new wave of Covid-19 from spreading to the community.

“Given how close these three states are to the initial emergence in Wuhan, China – particularly Taiwan – New Zealand has a lot to learn from them about how to deal with a pandemic,” Hong said.

A key takeaway from the three states is the importance of preparation, and the expectation among elected officials and the permanent government that a future pandemic is not only likely – it is inevitable.

After last decade’s outbreaks of SARS and MERS (two similar virus strains to Covid-19), the Governments of South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan rebuilt their testing, database, tracing and intergovernmental ties to add more efficiency and depth.

This enabled them to move much faster this time around, Hong said.

“Now that New Zealand has experienced its own pandemic, it has a similar momentum to build a world-class health infrastructure to prepare for any future virus problems,” Hong added.

Another factor in the three states’ success was that the Government’s all had a transparent view into exactly how much personal protective equipment (PPE) it had available for medical staff and where their citizens were most vulnerable.

Hong said they were able to achieve this by leveraging a nation-wide digital database which stored citizen’s medical histories and even travel records.

New Zealand’s nervousness about who has access to their digital data may be an obstacle for similar procedures here, he said, but a safe and privacy-focused Government programme could be created.

“Kiwis have a lot of work to do to prepare for the next pandemic. And New Zealand will have to rethink how it allocates resources to build a more robust epidemiological programme,” Hong said.

“But by forging deeper cooperation with like-minded and successful neighbours – Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore – it can take the emerging opportunity to set up defences.”

Read more:
Research Note: Lessons from East Asia's Containment is available here

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Problems The Pandemic Is Causing For Big Oil

Chances are, climate change won’t kill you overnight, and that’s got to be significant. Yet while we were all in lockdown listening to the birdsong, it was hard to avoid the conclusion that if governments can up-end the economy for an unexpected reason – the coronavirus – surely, we can act just as decisively to counter the known threat that climate changes poses to planetary survival.
Currently, those twin threats from Covid-19 and climate change are converging: on the extent of oil production... More>>


National: $4 Billion Investment To End Wellington’s Congestion Woes

A National Government will invest another $4 billion in transport infrastructure across Wellington, igniting the economy and delivering the congestion-busting solutions the region has long been crying out for, National Party Leader Judith Collins says. ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Virtues (and Fluffed Opportunities) Of The Operation Burnham Report

One unspoken rule of thumb in any official public inquiry is : whatever you do, don’t conclude you were made to listen to “a litany of lies” even if the evidence of a deliberate cover-up is right there under your nose. In that respect, the report ... More>>


Office Of The Speaker: Parliament Is Revamping Its Rules

Today, the Standing Orders Committee’s report on the review of Standing Orders was presented to the House. The Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, chairs the committee. He said today that the 2020 review will make our rules more ... More>>

Economy: Investing In The Tourism Sector’s Recovery

More than $300 million in funding has been approved to protect strategic tourism businesses, drive domestic tourism through regional events and lift digital capability in the tourism industry, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. A $400 million ... More>>


National On MP Bill: Waka-Jumping Repeal Bill Passes First Reading

The Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading, marking one step closer to Parliament getting rid of NZ First’s ‘waka-jumping’ legislation, National List MP David Carter says. “I’d like to thank the Greens for voting ... More>>


Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>


Energy: 100% Renewable Electricity Grid Explored With Pumped Storage ‘battery’

The Government is taking a significant step toward its goal for 100% renewable electricity generation in a move that could be a game changer for consumers and the creation of a low-emissions economy, Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods said. ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels