Beijing, Berlin The corona crisis is far from over, but the international struggle for sovereignty over the pandemic has already begun. The countries’ vulnerability to crises is becoming the new litmus test for different political and economic systems.
As one of the first think tanks, the Eurasia Group in New York has now submitted a comparison of the resilience of individual nations. After that, Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden do well, but Germany, Japan and Switzerland are also particularly crisis-proof against the pandemic.
As in the country comparison of the London Deep Knowledge Group, Germany also comes second in Eurasia. The fact that the study still certifies a good health system even in countries that are badly affected, such as Italy, Spain and France, can only be explained by the fact that the situation is much worse in developing and emerging countries. In addition, a good health care system like the one in Italy will be overwhelmed if politics is not decisive. Only the mix makes countries resilient.
“The crisis-proof countries combine a high level of political performance, social cohesion and good health care with low financial vulnerability. If there is a weakness in this group, it is the vulnerability of their economies to a global downturn, ”says Eurasia expert Alexander Kazan.
Germany not only scored points with its good health system, but also with its prudent political leadership, social security and its financial resources. Sven Smit, Co-Chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute in Amsterdam, confirms that the financial condition of the countries will become even more important in the course of the crisis: “The economic resilience will of course depend heavily on whether countries are able to absorb the debt that has now been incurred repay also. “
The two superpowers America and China, whose rivalry has been intensified by the pandemic, do not make it into the top ten nations in the Eurasia list, but are ranked 11th and 12th. The result contradicts the claims of US President Donald Trump, the United States responded better than other countries to the virus. But above all it exposes Beijing’s propaganda, the pandemic shows the superiority of the Chinese regime in times of crisis. Meanwhile, allegations against the leadership in Beijing are increasing: Trump threatens China with “consequences” if it turns out that the authorities could have stopped the pandemic.
The US state of Missouri even wants to bring Beijing to justice. There are also demands for damages in the US Congress, which, however, are not given any chances of success due to the international law principle of state immunity. Nevertheless, China is increasingly caught in the crossfire of international criticism.
China’s mistakes take revenge
The fact that China reacted far too late at the beginning of the crisis has meanwhile become a consensus among experts. At the beginning of February, the central government in Beijing admitted “shortcomings” and “shortcomings”. Already in January the mayor of Wuhan City, Zhou Xianwang, admitted to the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV: “We did not pass on information in a timely manner and did not use any effective information to improve our work.” Mayor Zhou only reacted on January 23 and completely blocked Wuhan from.
According to estimates, however, around five million people had already left the city by then. In a joint study, American, British and Chinese researchers found that the number of cases could have been reduced by 66 percent if the measures to control the pathogen had been taken only a week earlier. If the containment started three weeks earlier, the study would have reduced the number of cases by 95 percent.
“After a delayed reaction, China implemented the principle of ‘test, isolate, track’ in an extreme manner and also accepted human rights violations,” says Maike Voss, head of a project on global health policy at the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP). Like many other experts, Voss criticizes the high price at which the metropolis of Wuhan was sealed off. Voss said that health was not just about infectious diseases. It is also about follow-up costs that are caused by delayed illnesses and preventive measures. “Human rights violations also have an impact on health.”
The origin of the virus has been puzzled since the beginning of the crisis. First, it was said that the first human carrier must have been infected at a wildlife market in Wuhan. In March, Chinese government officials scattered claims that the virus had been brought into China by US military personnel. Reports from US diplomats and statements by US government officials recently suggested that an accident in a Wuhan laboratory that is researching viruses could have caused the pandemic. The laboratory denies the allegations.
Doubts about Chinese data
No conclusions can yet be drawn on the source of the coronavirus, said Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, WHO. However, the evidence available suggested animal origin, Kasai said at an online press conference.
An independent investigation into the incidents in China is almost impossible. Similar to other disasters before, such as the devastating earthquake in the southern Chinese province of Sichuan, Chinese journalists were able to report for a short period of time relatively freely in the case of Corona.
Then the censorship barrier fell again. At the beginning of April, China issued a new rule that research institutes must register their research on the coronavirus with Chinese authorities. Observers also see this as a measure to control research by the government in Beijing.
Since the beginning of the crisis, doubts have been voiced about the data from China. Experts have repeatedly referred to the reported figures as the “tip of the iceberg”. In Wuhan in particular, the number of deaths was questioned. In mid-April, the city finally corrected and reported 50 percent more deaths. She justified the errors by overwhelming the medical staff and the authorities, especially in the initial phase.
In terms of both the number of infected people and the number of deaths, China, with its 1.4 billion inhabitants, reported far less than other, significantly smaller countries. “The Chinese case numbers have to be seen as qualitative statements, that is, the trend is correct, but the individual figures will not be correct,” said Sebastian Heilmann, professor of politics and economics in China at the University of Trier, in an interview with the Handelsblatt.
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