But other parts of the country never saw such stringent restrictions, even during the early stages of the pandemic when similar lockdowns were introduced in cities throughout China.
In particular, China’s ability to track and trace cases across the country whenever there is the suggestion of a new cluster of infections has enabled the government to respond quickly and bring local epidemics under control.
Between provinces and regions, borders that were previously frictionless and mostly invisible are now increasingly monitored, so public transport can be restricted or halted completely in the instance of an outbreak. Entry into China from overseas has also been heavily restricted, with strict quarantine measures enforced on arrival.
In part, this more productive response to the virus in China — and in other places throughout Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan — is due to the differing reaction from the general population in this region compared to Europe.
Similarly, European borders have remained largely open — despite the bloc having the right to close its usually open boundaries in the name of public health — with summer travelers blamed for several recent outbreaks.
“Fundamental to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to immediately detect cases, very rapid diagnosis and immediate case isolation, rigorous tracking and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of population understanding and acceptance of these measures,” the report said.
Unfortunately, in the intervening months, even as China’s response has been shown to be effective — and similar models have shown success in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia long exposed to the virus — Europe continues to lag behind.