on air now

Why some countries have fought COVID-19 so much more effectively than others

International responses to COVID-19 have varied greatly and had vastly different results, but a World Health Organisation spokesperson says there are shared characteristics among countries which are winning the battle against the virus.

WHO spokesperson, Dr Margaret Harris, said many countries simply weren’t prepared.

“One of the problems with preparedness is nobody notices … until you don’t do it,” she told Ross and Russel.

Dr Harris said public health has been “uncool” in recent years, and many countries have let their public health systems deteriorate.

“A lot of the developed economies actually have done very poorly,” she said.

“We think that’s about not really being serious about preparedness and also having either dismantled or just neglected their public health systems.”

Countries which have had recent pandemic experiences are much more likely to have effectively quelled COVID-19 than those which haven’t.

“A lot of the countries that had seen SARS … got ready right away, put in the surveillance, paid attention, found the cases early and did everything they could to stop it,” Dr Harris said.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.