It was the first to suffer it and also to tame it thanks to its agile and far-sighted governments and its disciplined societies. But the return of the coronavirus to Asia, with widespread infection records and recovered quarantines, is a corollary that even the most praised recipes will not ensure tranquility while the vaccine is elusive. Discounted India, the second asian wave It is much smaller in magnitude than in the United States, Brazil, and other European countries, but it has restored fear and refreshed the pandemic maxim that a match is enough to light the prairie. Even North Korea, self-declared coronavirus-free, this week announced its first case and closed Kaesong, one of its main cities.
China it has three foci at its corners: in Xinjiang, bordering Central Asia, in the cold northern provinces and in Hong Kong. The 57 new infections on Sunday, which do not include the ex-colony, are the largest record since March. The northern fringe had already suffered outbreaks due to the flood of Chinese from Russia, but the quarantine of cases in Xinjiang, the cradle of the unredeemed Uighurs and already subjected to appalling social control long before the coronavirus, is surprising.
Tests a mansalva
The almost 200 infections in Urumqi, its capital, have activated the protocol: formal declaration of “mode of war”, deadbolt and tests at face value. Almost 2.5 of the 3.5 million inhabitants have already been tested and a second campaign was launched on Sunday to uncover false negatives. It is a modest figure on the Chinese scale if we think about the 11 million tests carried out after a focus in Wuhan, the 10 million in Beijing or the six in Dalian.
More than half of the 2,700 infections in Hong Kong have been registered in this July. Few ecosystems are more conducive to pandemics than ex-colony, a hub of international connections with unbearable humidity where the same population as Catalonia squeezes in 30 times less territory. The outbreak has forced unprecedented measures such as the prohibition of meetings of more than two people, the obligation of masks and the closure of restaurants, swimming pools and sports facilities. The next three weeks will be crucial, authorities have clarified, even with fresh memories of SARS or bird flu.
Vietnam He had not had local infections since April and it has taken him a handful of cases to close Danang and order the urgent evacuation of 80,000 people, tourists mostly. Danang was a bland and shrinking city where it was not hard to see American war veterans racking beer in their bars until government policies made it one of the most glittering and exciting hubs in Asia.
Dozens of flights now transport tourists to eleven cities in the country, where strict two-week quarantines await them, in a counter-cultural strategy that orders evacuation instead of seclusion. Vietnam, with the most successful and ignored recipe against coronavirus, is owed confidence: a developing country, with more than a thousand kilometers and without a single death in a population of one hundred million inhabitants, has supplied its technological and hospital deficiencies with a lot of prevention, surgical quarantines and the human element.
Records in Japan
It also chains Japan records, with 239 cases recorded in Tokyo and 803 across the country over the weekend. Experts still wonder how she kept the virus at bay in the first few months, with no consignable efforts, but her luck seems to be dying. Tokyo has hospital beds for coronavirus patients tripled But, despite the advice of renowned epidemiologists, he is reluctant to impose a state of emergency to protect a flu-like economy that has already suffered from Olympic cancellation.
The capital was excluded from a program that promoted domestic tourism and its governor, Yuriko Koike, has asked that expendable exits be avoided. Authorities have blamed the outbreaks on nightlife, but the caseload suggests that the causes are broader.
The picture is no better in the rest of Southeast Asia. Philippines he plans to recover the running of the bulls in his capital after his uprising triggered the contagions, Malaysia It is studying measures to put down a dozen outbreaks and Indonesia has already overtaken China in the number of infected. Also in that area, but in the economic antipodes, Singapore recorded nearly 500 cases on Monday.
No country epitomizes drama like India: With the runaway pandemic, it has been forced to lift the strict confinements so as not to steal the means for the pure survival of part of its population while imploring it sensibly. “We have to remember that the coronavirus is as deadly today as it was in the beginning,” insisted its prime minister, Narendra Modi. India, with tens of thousands of new cases daily, only precedes the United States and Brazil.
The experts have already clarified that the second wave would arrive as soon as the measures were relaxed. Assumed inexorable, the question was how to deal with it. And, as happened in the first, Asia fights with verve and urgency.