While Germany is still reporting an increase in coronavirus cases, China and some of its neighboring countries appear to have curbed the virus after various measures have been implemented. In China, more rescued patients were discharged from hospital last week than new patients were admitted. This precedent indicates that the preventive measures taken by China and its neighboring countries help to contain the Covid-19 virus.
However, the virus is still spreading outside of China and is picking up speed in Germany. It is time for us to learn from Asia and see what steps have helped them in this crisis. While not all measures could be implemented in Germany, some of them could help us to contain the outbreak.
What could the West learn from Asia?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the efforts of several Asian countries that have had some success in limiting the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Countries such as Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have kept their coronavirus cases low despite their proximity to China. It is still difficult to say that Asia defeated the corona virus at this point, but it can be assumed that its protective measures work efficiently. At the same time, the western world is struggling to keep the virus at bay and may need to implement measures that Asian countries have taken at both individual and governmental levels.
The preventive measures taken by Asian countries were not unknown, but the crucial factor for them was how quickly they reacted to the situation. Hong Kong and other East Asian countries had previously survived SARS, MERS and swine flu, giving them the experience needed to deal with this crisis. These countries already had protocols and some implemented them in the first week of January. The same rapid response is expected from the West to reduce the outbreak.
Wide and affordable tests
“Regardless of how your health or political systems are organized, the keys to disease control remain the same,” said Jessica Justman, professor of medicine in epidemiology at Columbia University, testing, tracking, isolating, and informing.
In South Korea, when the number of cases grew rapidly, they developed a test for the virus and ran 10,000 free tests daily. This allowed South Korea to isolate and treat patients early, which slowed the spread and mortality rate of the virus.
China set a precedent when it quarantined the entire Hubei province. Research shows that this helped reduce the transmission of the virus overseas. Others soon followed, and every country experiencing a coronavirus crisis forced closure. Italy was the first country to block the whole country, but not before the death toll got out of control. Fortunately, most countries today forced a domestic ban to contain the virus.
Canceling media events and closing places where people gather is one of the most effective strategies to contain an outbreak. Hong Kon was the first outside of China to close schools in the last week of January. Other public gatherings were canceled during these weeks, with film festivals, conferences and sporting events being canceled.
Organizations took advantage of this and ran advertising campaigns that encourage the public to stay away and stay at home to ensure their safety. These efforts go hand in hand with public approval for such measures. It is not difficult for the Asian population to follow these measures when governments are more authoritarian. Experts believe that Asia implemented such steps early, while the western world did not respond until their cases reached the thousand numbers, which is why they could not properly control the outbreak.
What protective masks have to do
There were various opinions relevant to face masks and how effective they were against Covid-19. Some health organizations encourage their use, while others suggested that only infected and medical staff should wear them. Due to the deteriorating situation, every organization is now encouraging the public to use protective masks. The corona virus is new, which means that our immune system doesn’t know how to fight it properly.
Seasonal flu is not that severe because we’ve seen it before and our immune system knows how to fight it. Therefore, every preventive measure against coronavirus is important. An estimated 25% of coronavirus patients feel good and do not know that they are infected and can be contagious. Therefore, wearing a mask is more important than ever to protect others from their germs.
How your mask can protect others
Even a simple homemade mask can be effective in catching droplets of coughing and sneezing. A recent study by the University of Hong Kong and the University of Maryland observed the difference when someone exhaled into a funnel without anything covering their mouth or nose and wearing simple masks. “When we look at all the results together, we find that masks can stop most viral breath droplets and some of the virus-laden aerosols,” said Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health and the lead author of the study.
How can your mask protect you?
Research has shown that wearing a mask can trap your germs. However, it does not tell us whether incoming germs are avoided when wearing it, as this depends on the fabric and the fit of the mask.
I only wear a mask outside of my house or inside
You will need to wear a mask outside your home as you will then be at risk of exposure because you do not know who has the virus and who does not. But when you are at home, only wear a mask when some are sick. The patient should be isolated in a separate room to avoid contact, and both the patient and the caregiver should wear face masks when in contact.
Choose or wear a mask
The awareness of the face masks in combination with the lack of medical masks has shown us masks in all shapes and colors. But everyone has to make a responsible decision about which mask to use.
Types of masks
- FFP2 (Europe EN 149-2001)
- N95 (United States NIOSH-42CFR84)
- KN95 (China GB2626-2006)
These masks are close to the face and have the highest filtration efficiency – they block 95% of the particles. An FFP2 / N95 / KN95 mask is recommended for medical personnel who come into close contact with the virus during medical interventions on infected patients. The rest of us don’t need that much protection, and given their scarce supply, we should only reserve them for healthcare workers. StaySafe24 larger quantities of masks in stock.
These masks are rectangular with elastic ear loops and are sometimes referred to as surgical masks. They consist of paper-like fleece and are effective against trapping germs when coughing. Compared to the FFP2 / KN95 / N95, they block up to 60-80 percent of the particles. Here, too, StaySafe24 scores with reliable delivery. Even in larger quantities.
Health organizations are now encouraging the public to use self-made masks outdoors to protect themselves. Although not all masks are effective, you can make a very effective one with the right fabric and fit. Below are some materials you can use to make a good quality mask.
• Cotton quilt fabric:
• Coffee filter
• Scarves and head scarves
Important lessons from Asia on how to live with a coronavirus outbreak
Spread good hygiene practices
Wash your hands with soap for more than 20 seconds, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These are examples of good hygiene practices. In cities like Hong Kong, people wear gloves before leaving their homes and use alcohol wipes to disinfect surfaces. Various disinfection stations can be set up in offices and shops to encourage people to clean their hands regularly.
In addition, it is recommended to have the necessary respiratory masks in stock as security. This measure avoids white lies as in Switzerland that respiratory masks do not offer protection. This was communicated to the people so that the rare masks could reach medical personnel. Which makes sense. However, masks should be available at all times. Where there are no viruses and bacteria flying around, the risk of infection is also lower.
Give employees flexibility:
In order to reduce the risk of spreading the infection, offices in Asia have given their employees flexible working conditions. Some companies have allowed their employees to work from home, while others have sent all non-essential workers home. There are obviously difficulties with management, but modern technology makes it easier for entire companies to work from home
Don’t panic purchase
When the virus hit Asia and a shortage of supplies was found, people started to panic. Despite the government’s assurance that there would be no acute shortage, supermarkets were sold out and people were stacking supplies to keep them for weeks.