Covid-19: in South Korea and New Zealand, deconfinements with very different results

While in France, the modalities of deconfinement have yet to be clarified, other countries have already exceeded their second wave equivalent of Covid-19. In New Zealand and South Korea, two countries often hailed for their control of the epidemic, new restrictions were imposed in late summer until fall. Today, the two countries are deconfined. But their respective balance sheets are very different.

New Zealand avoided a second wave

The country of only five million inhabitants is often cited as an example for its management of the epidemic. The reason ? His strategy of “go hard, go early” (in French, “going strong, going early”) as soon as cases appear. During its first containment, the method of tracing and isolating cases made it possible to contain the epidemic, explaining a relatively low number of contaminations and deaths.

But during the summer, things got hectic. In mid-August, as the country congratulated itself on having spent 100 days without any new contamination, a first case of Covid-19 contamination was detected in the capital of Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did not hesitate: she decided to confine the economic heart – and its 1.5 million inhabitants – of the country within six hours after the first positive test, according to the Guardian.

In the end, a cluster of 179 cases was detected in the city (which can be explained by the circulation of the virus possibly poorly detected), but the consequences of which were less thanks to this brutal reconfinement. Some experts deduce that, unlike Europe and America, New Zealand managed to avoid a second epidemic wave, in particular thanks to its geographical location and small population. “They have never had a major epidemic where the number of cases has upset their hospital capacities”, complete with the New York Times Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, public health specialist at the University of Sydney, Australia.

At the end of August, the city began to return to normal life. At the beginning of October, the alert level was lowered across the country: gatherings are again allowed, and, surprisingly, wearing a mask in public places is no longer compulsory. However, the borders remain closed and people who test positive (less than ten per day) are still placed in isolation in hotel rooms managed by the government.

In South Korea, a new rise in cases

In South Korea, the results are more mixed. During the summer, the country saw a new rise in cases of contamination throughout the country. In reaction, the authorities immediately decided to introduce new restrictions, without going as far as total containment. In several provinces, including that of the capital, Seoul, places considered to be at high risk, such as bars, nightclubs, museums, libraries and schools with more than 300 students, have been closed. Religious gatherings have been suspended, and teleworking encouraged.

Covid-19: in South Korea and New Zealand, deconfinements with very different results

The restrictions were then gradually eased from mid-September until the end of October, while the number of infections continued to drop… Until a sudden and continuous recovery, and this until today. So much so that on Wednesday, Associated Press reported that the country had set a new record since August, with 313 cases in 24 hours.

“We believe that a third wave of infections is underway in the capital region”, a spokesperson for the Korean Ministry of Health expressed concern on Friday. New restrictions were therefore immediately put in place in the Seoul and Gangwon area, where the infections were located. Since Thursday, gatherings are again limited to 100 people, festivals and concerts are banned. For other events, such as plays, only 30% of the seats need to be occupied and separated.

If the number of new infections remains worrying for the country of more than 51 million inhabitants, its number of deaths remains low, with only a few deaths counted each week, bringing the total to 501 since the start of the epidemic. .

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