Junyan Chen

A young Chinese scholar tells Sarah Whitehead how civil society helped the state to contain the coronavirus.

The World Today Updated 11 November 2020 Published 1 April 2020 2 minute READ

Junyan Chen

Former Academy Associate, Asia-Pacific Programme

Sarah Whitehead

Former Assistant Editor, The World Today

What were challenges China faced in dealing with the virus?

Identifying a new virus causing a new form of pneumonia and its transmission processes, symptoms and effective treatments was most urgent. Responding to the challenges of maintaining supplies during unprecedented lockdowns, and of finding a balance between controlling the epidemic and reviving the economy came next. Once the severity of the outbreak was recognized, the measures taken were aggressive to cut the transmission chains. Shutting down almost everything overnight made it harder for the various departments of the administration to coordinate between themselves and with society at large. In the early stage, this lack of coordination led to chaos and the interruption of supplies of food and medical equipment, especially in Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak.

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