Why did the Governments Fail to Stop COVID-19?

It would have taken a month at-tops to contain the virus and bring life back to normal in the cities across the world if three widely recommended steps were sharply implemented.

While it is true that vaccine is necessary to completely win over COVID-19, it is also true that it could have been contained to a large extent within the span of a month.

All that the governments across the world — in particular the ones in China, Italy, Spain and the USA — needed was to follow the three widely recommended steps: (i) ‘early’ and ‘strict’ lockdown (ii) conduct aggressive test on those suspected to be infected, and (iii) isolate and treat the infected patients.

It would have taken a month at-tops to contain the virus and bring life back to normal in the cities across the world if these three steps recommended by the experts, including the ones from World Health Organisation, were sharply implemented.

Although the governments from across the world took very seriously the third/final step and tried best to carry out this one properly, they were still unsuccessful in stopping the increasing trend of the virus — let alone contain it. After all, they failed to implement the previous two steps properly, which are the pre-condition to the third one.

The very mistake the governments initially did was to carry on with life-as-usual or, in few cases, impose limited and fewer restrictions — instead of imposing a strict, mandatory, full and complete lockdown — eventhough they had precedents before them of what could happen if they fail to act quickly.

For its part, the Italian government should have assessed the situation well after observing what had been happening in Wuhan and other parts of China as well as the spread (although slow during the time) of the virus in other Asian countries.

Other governments — especially the ones in the USA and Spain — too were in a far better position than China and Italy to have assessed the situation far more appropriately. They had the situation in China and Italy as well as the global spread of the virus as a warning bell of what’s coming. Had they imposed a full and complete lockdown of their countries before even finding the first COVID-19 patient in their countries, they could well have saved hundreds of thousands of people now got infected.


Bahauddin Foizee is a geopolitical, political and investment Threat/Risk Analyst and an international affairs columnist, with a major focus on overlapping Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific/Indian-Ocean mega-regions and Middle East. He also, infrequently, writes about other issues including climate crisis, social awareness, law and refugee crisis.