While the West Panicked, Some Asian Regimes Took a Different Path

by Mihai Macovei

More and more voices are questioning the rationale for the general lockdown imposed in most of Europe and the US in response to the coronavirus epidemic. Such unprecedented suppression of civil and economic liberties during peace continue to strike many as hardly justified. Whether from a legal, ethical, or economic standpoint, we may soon find that the cost of the policy reaction was immense and grave. We have yet to see the real toll of the draconian confinement measures taken to stop the contagion. A high price must also be paid for the gargantuan financial and fiscal packages supposed to alleviate the impact of the largely self-inflicted economic crisis.

But not all regimes have taken this path. Several Asian countries at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, in particular Korea and Japan but also Taiwan and Hong Kong, have not instituted general lockdowns. Most reacted early with widespread testing, tracking, and isolating only those found positive for the virus.

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