What we must do to contain COVID in 2021

What we must do to contain COVID in 2021

Lessons for the Western Pacific region from 2020

Compared to other parts of the world, the Western Pacific region has been comparatively fortunate.

Although the region’s 37 countries and areas are home to more than a quarter of the world’s population, they have reported just 1% of globally confirmed cases to date. Most countries have avoided the so-called red line, or the point where critical care needs surpass health care capacity, large numbers of health care workers are infected, service quality declines and deaths rapidly increase.

Of course, 2020 was still a very difficult year — in particular, for health care workers, and for those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods. My thoughts are with the families of these people every day, and with the health care workers who have been working so hard over the past year. We all need to remain vigilant, in order to keep case numbers down, and health systems operating, and as far as possible, the transmission of the virus in check.

At the end of 2020, there are still many unknowns about COVID-19. However, it is still useful to reflect on some of the lessons that can be learned from our experiences and what we can take forward into 2021.