I三级成人视频t has been claimed that the UK has been left ill-prepared for this pandemic because so-called austerity has hollowed out public services. But the countries that have been most successful at responding to Covid-19, the Asian tigers, have relatively low levels of healthcare spending. Singapore (4.5 per cent) spends half as much as the United Kingdom (9.8 per cent) as a proportion of the economy. Taiwan (6.1 per cent), Hong Kong (6.2 per cent), and South Korea (7.3 per cent) spend less too.
These countries were most at risk of a major Covid-19 outbreak, considering their proximity to China. But the results are striking: Hong Kong has had four deaths, Singapore and Taiwan have had six, and South Korea has had 208. The UK has already had over 9,000三级成人视频. Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have not had to instigate lockdowns or close businesses. Singapore only shut non-essential businesses last week.
三级成人视频The success of the Asian tigers is because of meticulous planning after SARS in 2003, small but agile bureaucracies, and decisive early action.
三级成人视频Singapore has an early warning system, isolation facilities in hospitals, a 330-bed infectious disease management facility, trained healthcare staff and stockpiles of personal protective equipment, medications and vaccines. They have also undertaken simulation exercises and public education about handwashing, mask-wearing and medical treatment.
Pandemic response requires good governance and strategy effectively executed. The most successful countries ramped up testing as quickly as possible, involving the private sector, and used technology to trace cases to prevent broad outbreaks.
Australia spends similar amounts to the UK on healthcare but delivery is highly decentralised to the state-level, with a large complimentary private sector. Australia has undertaken over three times as many tests三级成人视频 as the UK per capita. This, along with strict border controls, has identified over 6,000 cases but just over 50 deaths.
Germany spends a few percentage points more than the UK on healthcare, but uses a compulsory social insurance-based system. Healthcare delivery is decentralised, delivered by the public and private sectors. Germany has undertaken 1.3 million tests, compared to the UK’s 300,000, providing far greater ability to track potential cases. While Germany’s death toll is not as low as that of the Asian tigers, it does compare favourably to similarly sized neighbours such as France, and Italy. France spends more than the UK on healthcare, Italy spends slightly less.
While this is all speculative – we won’t know for some time how different countries have handled this crisis – it appears British bureaucracy has been lacklustre. Despite years of pandemic planning, modelled on a less threatening H1N1-like flu outbreak, we were slow to take Covid-19 seriously.
The NHS, in conjunction with the military and private sector in the case of the Nightingale hospitals and ventilators, has done an extraordinary job三级成人视频 expanding critical care capacity. But this may not have been necessary had we stopped the spread.
The body responsible for infectious diseases is Public Health England. PHE began testing in January, but limited testing to a single laboratory. It was not until mid-February that testing was expanded to the entire PHE network, and even later the NHS. PHE rebuffed offers from companies, universities, charities, and even animal testing labs, to help.
三级成人视频On February 26, PHE announced there was “no current evidence to show that the virus is circulating in the community”. In retrospect, an epidemiological impossibility. We just weren’t testing broadly. The UK, perhaps uniquely, has given up on testing and case tracing in the community. The Government is only now involving pharma companies like AstraZeneca and GSK in testing, but this remains weeks away.
In 2018/19, less than a quarter of PHE’s budget was directed towards protection from infectious diseases, the organisation’s raison d’etre. PHE has become best known for its nanny state concerns about sugary soft drinks and chocolate bars. Perhaps a refocus is in order.
When this is over, the key lesson must not be that the UK needs to spend “more” on healthcare. We could spend twice as much (like the United States), but end up with the same dismal outcomes. Bigger leads to inflexibility. It will be far more important to develop an agile bureaucracy that is willing to work with the private sector.
Matthew Lesh is the head of research at the Adam Smith Institute