The spreading coronavirus has health officials from the U.S. to Europe searching for answers. To find them, they could look to the experience of Asia, which has been battling the deadly pathogen since January — with some success.
In a little over two months, the highly contagious disease has traveled from its epicenter in Wuhan, China, to at least 108 countries, sickened over 119,000 people and killed more than 4,200. Governments everywhere are struggling to curb outbreaks, locking down their borders and shutting down large parts of their economies.
Even before COVID-19, China, Hong Kong and some Southeast Asian nations had weathered the outbreak of SARS in 2003 and, more recently, the onset of MERS and swine fever, giving them experience in tackling the spread of infectious diseases, said Kenji Shibuya, a professor at King's College London and former chief of health policy at the World Health Organization. "They have accumulated knowledge and practices, so there's room for other countries to learn from these experiences."