It appears that just recently Israel, and so has the rest of the world, began to internalize what the Chinese have already implemented. The Corona is here, and it’s here to stay. It seems like China managed to contain the Coronavirus and that the country is now recuperating and planning its next steps, Post-Corona.
For several weeks, there has been a downward trend in the number of people infected by the virus in China. What was initially reported as an apocalyptic epidemic expected to infect hundreds of millions in China and spread at a frightening pace to the rest of the world, today looks like the triumph of a nation that has successfully defeated the virus against all odds. But does this victory belong to the world, or only to China, and is it only temporary? China managed to control the Coronavirus by implementing an uncompromising policy. Strict isolation and quarantine rules applied and enforced, rapid and organized response of the health system and especially of the epidemiologic teams in mapping the infected people and contacting them, and above all, the cooperation of its citizens.
A lot of criticism was heard about some of these measures. China will not let an individual [deleted “to”] jeopardize the general public and even if it involves sharing information about the health of citizens with the police, the priorities are very clear. However, the World Health Organization specifically noted the solidarity of the Chinese people and their cooperation with the guidelines. The organization’s report states that China has unprecedentedly managed to contain the epidemic so quickly, thanks to the extraordinary commitment of its citizens and officials to the public interest, over their own expense.
China has not only sacrificed its national morale in this tough battle against Corona, but also its economy. There is no doubt that China, in its state today, has a very strong interest in bringing the wheels back into motion; and yet, not at the expense of safety. Thus, although the government encourages returning to work, restrictions on traffic and isolation obligations have not yet been fully removed. Rail traffic has fallen by more than 70%, and many Chinese citizens have not returned to their homes since Chinese New Year, which took place at the end of January this year. The increase is gradual and the data vary greatly from province to province with partially staffed enterprises and factories. China seems to be taking its steps back to routine, very cautiously.
China’s economy has already took a severe blow as a result of the Corona crisis, but the waves are only beginning to hit the rest of the world. Not only the tourism industry that will probably take a long time to go back to normal, but also the automotive industry, technology, construction, energy and almost any other sector is dependent in one way or another on China’s economy.
China is almost on “the day after”, but Israel is about to learn what China will soon forget. While the virus in China is converging, the trend in the world is the spread of the virus, and in Israel only the first buds are emerging. Last week, a press conference was convened by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health and safety measures were announced to prevent the spread of the epidemic, some of which are retroactive. True, Israel seems to be among the countries that take this outbreak seriously and take significant steps even before large numbers of contagion have been discovered, but is that enough to nip it in the bud? Not very surprisingly, the Chinese discipline does not apply so naturally on Israelis, and not everyone is willingly obeying the self isolation instructions.
As befits the start-up nation, where everyone has an opinion on everything, individualism plays an important role in the Israeli character. The Chinese, in general, have a strong sense of hierarchy and the high discipline as a nation stems from respect for authority and confidence in the system. In Israel, everyone seems to have the ability, and perhaps even the obligation, to question the justification of official guidelines, and certainly to the extent and manner of their implementation. If the Coronavirus erupts here, as the forecasts now show, it seems impossible to expect that everyone will automatically obey and follow the official instructions. Let us hope that thanks to the quick response and the significant steps taken, Israel will be able to prevent a major outbreak even without the privilege of adopting the policies implemented in China.