Different governments and countries have had to develop different strategies in handling the Coronavirus pandemic. While almost all affected countries around the globe instituted shutdown measures initially, the varying effects of these measures have shown that a one size fits all approach cannot be adopted all around the globe.
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Why Selective Lockdowns?
At first glance, it might make no sense to institute a total lockdown in cities or countries. On paper, it seems the best bet in restricting movement and nipping the spread of the virus in the bud. The reality, however, presents a far different picture.
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In some countries, instituting a total lockdown worked by slowing down the rate of new infections and allowing medical officials to track down infected cases for testing and isolation. On the other hand, a lot of other countries were unable to achieve similar results from full lockdowns.
New cases kept showing up, and the sacrifice of keeping jobs closed and the economy shut down for weeks wasn’t justified by the daily infection rates. These differences in effects are triggered by a couple of factors which include:
Economic Strength: Countries like the UK and Germany amongst others were able to boost the economy with funds to provide welfare, such as feeding and other services for individuals stuck at home and unable to work.
For other countries without such welfare systems, the lockdowns were mostly breached as people had to seek a means of survival without government support.
Health Systems: In the absence of a working healthcare system, a lockdown won’t change much as facilities will not be sufficient to provide adequate care to infected patients.
Selective Lockdowns to the Rescue
Apart from disadvantaged countries, selective lockdowns have become imperative even in the world’s biggest economy because the costs of a lockdown- both financially and otherwise- are quite massive. So how does this work?
Below are some selective lockdown models:
Zoning: This system classifies a country into zones (geographical locations) based on the infection rates. The areas with the worst infection rates are put on total lockdown, while less affected areas are allowed to operate under strict safety guidelines.
Travel restrictions will also be in place to prevent the virus from being carried to uninfected areas from danger zones.
Demography: The most vulnerable individuals in a population are the aged and those with underlying medical conditions. This selective lockdown model calls for keeping such individuals quarantined, while other healthy people who constitute the bulk of the workforce can go to work and get the economy running again.
A lot of critics believe this model is inefficient as the active part of the population might spread infection and infect the people in quarantine.
Technology Monitoring: In countries like South Korea and others, technology is used to monitor the spread of the virus through ankle bracelets and other devices. Mobile apps are used to notify people when they come in contact with infected individuals or are approaching areas with high infection levels.
Newly infected people can then be advised to proceed on quarantine, while others go about their regular business.
It remains to be seen, over time, whether or not these measures will be effective in re-opening economies while keeping infection rates a low.
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