JASEM ALQINAI WRITES – The coronavirus pandemic that is currently devastating almost every country started in China. Many reports state that the virus first spread through the wet markets in the city of Wuhan. After tens of thousands of infected people died, the government felt it necessary to take strict measures of control.
One of them was to impose a strict lockdown of Wuhan and its surrounding cities, while other cities opted for self-quarantine. This lockdown was a necessary step in the effort to reduce the number of people coming into contact with one another. The use of the police and other neighborhood leaders helped manage the lockdown and the movement of people within cities. Another measure was to take temperature readings of citizens to help identify those that might have the virus. Temperature guns were dispersed across the country. The other significant measure was the creation of two hospitals in Wuhan to house those infected with the virus. These hospitals helped contain coronavirus.
In addition to building hospitals and issuing lockdowns, the government created a network to manage and control the movement of people. Chinese citizens were told to monitor their neighbors’ movements as well and to report violations. Most Chinese cities used building managers to account for each resident who left the building, requiring each to state the purpose of his proposed movement, what time he would be back and to sign a government form promising compliance.
Such stern action by the Chinese government was vital in containing the coronavirus, as was the commitment and obedience of the Chinese public. Over the past few weeks, China in fact sent some of its medical professionals to help fight the pandemic in Italy.
But countries such as the United States cannot accomplish this level of efficiency for a number of reasons: Firstly, the democratic form of governance of the U.S. uses is starkly different from China’s system of authoritarian rule. China can therefore much more easily implement measures such as lockdowns and quarantines. Secondly, some American citizens seem not to care; over spring break, thousands of young people flocked to beaches in Florida. Imagine that happening in China! Never.
While one system may not be better than the other, China has most certainly proven itself better, and quicker, at getting a grip on the coronavirus pandemic.