To begin, let’s do a little contextualisation and go back to the year 2019 where everything begins. In 2019 the world is plagued by the coronavirus viral pandemic, the first case was registered in Wuhan, Hubei, China, in November 2019 and due to the fact that the world was strongly connected, the virus ended up spreading in other continents.
This event would eventually compromise the economy in the following years. In 2020 the world was under several uncertainties; it was the first time since the outbreak of the Spanish flu that the world was again struggling with a similar event.
Various world economies began to collapse as the virus required the isolation of the population, and compulsory quarantines were decreed in countries with the highest number of cases, such as South Africa, Brazil, Spain and the USA. A crisis began in the employment sector, several workers lost their jobs and uncertainty only worsened. In the face of unemployment new forms of work arose, some professions allowed working from home.
The pandemic did not only bring negative aspects, some countries managed to excel, especially in the health sector. The crucial step that some countries took to keep their economy stable was the cautious and rigorous management that countries like Cuba, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Iceland and Rwanda had in relation to the calamitous situation. The countries mentioned promoted a strategic social isolation different from other nations, as they did not wait for the situation to worsen to start acting, with the aim of maintaining as many jobs as possible, applied mass tests with contagion screening, expanded the capacity of hospital care and adopted financial aid for the population and for small and medium enterprises.
In Africa, Rwanda is the biggest example of pandemic containment. The country has implemented the use of the “robot army” technique to act on the frontline, with the purpose of protecting the country’s health professionals and preventing further spread of the virus. In addition to the use of robots, the Government opted for the mass vaccination of residents and foreigners and created conditions to facilitate access to testing.
Thailand, which has an economic base in tourism, relied on the strength of the public health network to curb the contagions, more than a million agents went door to door to distribute masks, information against fake news about COVID-19. The country has already recovered its economy and has tourism initiatives such as “luxury quarantines” in beach paradises, islands reserved for tourists and other actions to boost the economy.
New Zealand is one of the world’s leading examples in containing the virus, and like the others, strategy was its greatest ally, the implementation of strict policies and quarantines that began as soon as some cases were detected helped to reduce the number of cases to almost zero, and as a result the economy did not suffer as much, jobs were maintained and good management of the economy did not allow for many falls in the employment sector. Companies were able to re-establish themselves and return to their normal activities.
Cuba is one of the countries with the highest rate of health professionals. It is estimated that one doctor is for about 160 people which is a leverage factor for health. In the face of COVID, Cuba has set an example to the world and has served as an aid to many countries that have been devastated by the health calamity. Countries like Spain were abruptly ravaged by the pandemic and Cuba provided humanitarian aid by sending doctors not only to Spain, but to several countries in particular to African countries like Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Although it is not a country with a robust economy, its economy was not severely punished by the pandemic, and its rapid intervention allowed for less damage and rapid containment of the virus.