Which countries are affected as a Scandinavian country

Fighting pandemics abroad How other countries are dealing with the corona crisis

Since the beginning of the corona crisis, almost 65 million people worldwide have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Almost 1.5 million people have died with COVID-19 as of December 8th. Many European countries are currently fighting the second wave and have restricted public life.

(picture alliance / dpa / Ostalb Network) Coronavirus - Current figures and developments
How many reported coronavirus cases are there in Germany? Is the spread of the virus slowing down, how is the number of cases developing internationally? How to evaluate the numbers - an overview.

Germany is extending the partial lockdown until January 10 and tightening some rules. Nevertheless, experts such as the virologist Melanie Brinkmann or the physicist Viola Priesemann do not go far enough in view of the many new corona infections and hotspot regions with incidence figures of over 200.

In other countries there are much stricter measures, others come with almost no restrictions. We take a look at various international corona strategies as an example.

Belgium: sharp lockdown after high numbers

Belgium was meanwhile the hardest hit country in Europe, the incidence value was at times well over 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than half a million infections in Belgium, out of a population of 11 million. There are many reasons for this, reports Dlf correspondent Bettina Klein from the Brussels studio: "The fragmented responsibilities, the lack of communication between the authorities across regional and language borders, and the premature lifting of the restrictions after the summer break."

In addition, nonsensical regulations such as the nationwide mask requirement outside reduced the acceptance of the necessary measures, many Belgians have made bypassing regulations a national sport. "Brussels is also a very international city, and Belgium is also a country with a lot of transit in Western Europe."Infections and deaths in Belgium (Deutschlandradio / Andrea Kampmann)

Belgium responded with tough measures: a lockdown lasting several weeks that goes far beyond the regulations in Germany. All "non-essential" stores were closed until December 1st. Other measures will remain in place until mid-January: All cultural and sports facilities are closed, as are all restaurants, some offer take-away. Only one person who does not belong to the household may be welcomed at home, there is an exception at Christmas. Home office is compulsory if possible. There is a night curfew. The measures are having an effect: new infections and hospital admissions are falling significantly.

Austria: borders almost close to the winter sports season

The Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl was one of the first corona hotspots in Europe at the beginning of the year: Around 11,000 holidaymakers were infected in the overcrowded après-ski bars and the virus spread worldwide. Those responsible are accused of having reacted too late and incorrectly to the outbreak. The first lockdown occurred in March.

(picture alliance / APA / picturedesk.com) Corona hotspot Ischgl: The legal search for responsibility begins
From the ski resort of Ischgl in Austria, the corona virus spread across Europe in March. Around 1,000 affected tourists see the too late reaction of the authorities as the reason for this. The Austrian consumer protection association has now filed its first claims for damages.

The number of infections is still high, and measured in terms of new infections per capita, Austria is among the leaders in Europe. So far, over 3,500 people have died as a result of the virus. The response to this was the second lockdown at the beginning of November - with harsh measures such as curfews from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. These still apply. Hotels and restaurants are closed until at least January 7th. The country is only slowly restarting everyday life, schools, retail and hairdressing salons are allowed to reopen, voluntary corona mass tests are being carried out.

(EXPA / Florian Schroetter / www.picturedesk.com) How useful are corona mass tests?
With a sufficiently large participation, mass rapid tests could help to better control the corona infection process, said IT expert Nikolas Popper in the Dlf. Accompanying measures are more important, above all isolation of the sick and effective contact tracing.

Skiing should be possible from December 24th - but probably only for Austrians: At the start of the winter sports season, a ten-day quarantine obligation was imposed on all travelers from Corona risk areas (more than 100 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days). This measure applies until January 10th. All neighboring countries are affected, said the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Switzerland: ski slopes open, corona measures tightened

In contrast to Austria, Switzerland leaves its ski slopes open to everyone. So far, the government in Bern has reacted rather cautiously to the corona crisis and left the decision to the cantons. In view of the persistently high number of coronavirus infections, the measures are now being standardized and tightened. It is planned that restaurants, shops, markets and sports facilities close at 7 p.m. and remain closed on Sundays. For private meetings, apart from Christmas days, a maximum of five people from two households should apply. Most public events and all cultural activities should be banned. The train service to Italy is also to be discontinued.

New Zealand: tough determination with success

In New Zealand, too, the number of infections rose sharply in April, albeit at a low level. New Zealand has about a third of the population of Belgium. The government's strategy: to push COVID-19 out of the country completely, to completely eliminate the virus, which is made easier by the island location. There were drastic restrictions in March. The national border was closed to most visitors and an extensive curfew was imposed. In terms of personal contacts, the country followed the social bubble approach: only contact with a small group of people whose composition does not change.

Overview on the subject of coronavirus (imago / Rob Engelaar / Hollandse Hoogte)

All of these measures had an effect. At the beginning of May, the number of new infections was almost zero again. In mid-August there was another major outbreak in Auckland, and there were a few more infections in mid-October. Overall, New Zealand still seems to have the epidemic under control thanks to the tough measures at the beginning of the pandemic.

Iceland: extensive testing of the island's own company

Iceland has the advantage that the private company DeCODE Genetics, which specializes in genome analysis, is based there. This company started mass testing early after the first infected travelers returned to the island from Italy. The tests were carried out on a large scale, with or without symptoms. This enabled chains of infection to be tracked and those affected to be isolated. There were also contact restrictions, entry bans and bans on major events.

These measures helped to significantly reduce the infections again. The borders were reopened to tourists. In mid-September, the number of infections rose again suddenly, even higher than in spring. But with the tried and tested means, the Icelanders finally succeeded in reducing the numbers again. The whole thing at a low overall level - with a population that is only slightly larger than that of the inhabitants of Bonn.

Taiwan: Early Prevention and Entry Freeze

Taiwan health authorities registered only 600 infections and seven deaths related to the viral disease as of early November. Taiwan's strategy was largely without coercive measures. However, the island nation reacted very early. Already at the end of January there was an entry ban for people from Wuhan, later from all over China.

(Carina Rother / Deutschlandradio) Corona Management Taiwan
Taiwan is one of the countries around the world that has best managed the spread of the corona virus despite its great spatial and economic proximity to China. The Taiwanese were prepared and reacted very quickly.

In addition, fever controls and comprehensive quarantine regulations for immigrants were introduced. The island location also helped here. You learn hygiene rules in elementary school and you wear a face mask in Taiwan if you have a minor infection or if you have a weak immune system. Discipline and acceptance in the implementation of the measures are very high among the population.

South Korea, Japan, Vietnam: Learning from Past Pandemics

Full football stadiums with spectators in South Korea, well-stocked shops, normal everyday life: the pandemic can only be felt at the airports in many East Asian countries, reports journalist Vanessa Vu at Deutschlandfunk Nova. The number of infections is significantly lower than in Europe, and large events are possible again. Vanessa Vu explains that these countries have learned a lot from past pandemics, for example through Sars in 2002 and 2003. Because timetable catalogs and measures were already available and political decisions had already been made, it was possible to react much earlier.

In addition, there are tougher quarantine rules, explains Vu: "This is different from ours, where you are asked to stay at home until the test result comes. There you are taken to separate facilities." These can be hotels that are empty, but a strictly monitored quarantine is also possible at home. People's attitudes towards fighting pandemics also differ significantly. There is no denial movement, for example hand washing challenges on Tiktok or app developments in the crowd. According to Vu, there is more of a "certain joy in fighting this pandemic - while everyone sits here with clenched teeth and see that everything goes over".

Sweden: dubious European special route

In Sweden, on the other hand, there is still no lockdown. Sweden has been going its own way since the beginning of the corona crisis. It relies on the common sense of its citizens, on distance and hygiene rules and leaves daycare centers, schools, restaurants and shops open. To date, there is no obligation or recommendation to wear mouth and nose protection. However, the number of visitors to sports or major events has been reduced.

After the sharp rise in corona numbers, stricter regulations came into force for the first time in November: among other things, the restriction to eight people in public and a ban on alcohol sales in restaurants after 10 p.m. Cinemas, swimming pools and museums also have to close.

(Fredrik SANDBERG / TT News Agency / AFP) Corona in Sweden: "Sonderweg not yet completely abandoned"
Due to increasing corona infections, new contact restrictions apply in Sweden. However, that does not yet mean the government completely abandons its special corona path, said Northern Europe expert Tobias Etzold.

In total, there were more than 260,000 infections and around 6,800 deaths in Sweden in the wake of the corona pandemic at the beginning of December - a multiple compared to the Scandinavian neighbors. And measured in terms of Sweden's population - around 10 million - significantly more than in most European countries.

(Source: Arndt Reuning, Bettina Klein, Dietrich Karl Mäurer, Olivia Gerstenberger, with afp, dpa)