TIME

Learning From Asia

AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, HONG KONG, Taiwan and Singapore looked next in line for catastrophe. The novel coronavirus was spreading beyond mainland China, and all three were hit early. Yet each still has fewer than 250 confirmed COVID-19 cases, even as global infection numbers swelled to upwards of 180,000.

It’s too early to declare victory. But if these places tied closely with China can stanch the virus’ spread, perhaps other countries now bearing the brunt of the pandemic can follow suit. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have also managed to get a handle on the deadly pathogen without resorting to draconian lockdowns or paralyzing their economies, suggesting measured responses can work.

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