As the COVID-19 cases continue to rise on a global scale, modern technologies are once again proving to be their best investment when it comes to the survival of human civilization. All these years, when there has been much anticipation for digital transformation spanning across all forms of industry, COVID-19 has been instrumental in giving it a much-needed push. This up-gradation to a world where we adapt, employ, and absorb such technologies in our lives is a significant part of what business experts call as Industry 4.0. And to make it to a successful venture, we do need good leadership.
Never before, we had understood the importance of having a health contingency plan and effective leadership to avert or deal with a crisis until now. Countries that did follow the above have better rates of victory against the novel coronavirus. Moreover integrating modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, big data, Machine learning, IoT did help them win this bio war. They enabled monitoring of the situation through surveillance, study the spread of the virus, and now are speeding up the process of finding a cure. These technologies, when paired with strong leadership, can help in reviving the lost economy.
Let us consider Vietnam; for example, the Asian country has managed to contain COVID-19 and reopened the economy, allowing businesses to resume. The country lifted its social isolation measures at the end of April 22 but continues to take precautions by limiting the gathering of people and making face mask-wearing mandatory. Vietnam which recorded its first positive case on January 28, managed to turn tables against COVID-19 by aggressive contact tracing, testing, mass quarantining, timeliness, and the efficient mobilization of state agencies.
Like any other country, Vietnam also suffered a massive blow to its economy. Its GDP fell to 3.8 percent in Q1. Yet, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has forecast Vietnam to be one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia despite the impact of COVID-19 with GDP projected to reach a minimum of 6.8 percent by 2021. To aid the economic recovery, its government launched a US$10.8 billion credit support package, lowered interest rates, delayed the payment of taxes, and land use fees for several business lines. It has further issued financial assistance for employers and employees affected by the pandemic. With other necessary measure taken to restart the growth in industries like tourism, aviation, and other, Vietnam will surely see better success rate than any other country.
Even countries like Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore have adopted a data-driven approach to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases. Taking advantage of big data, they have created heavily resourced databases to track and predict infectious risk used in conjunction with extensive airport screening protocols. Singapore had also prohibited travelers from mainland China in late January as soon as the WHO declared it as a pandemic. Mobile tracking has also been used to ensure high-risk individuals are quarantined at home, effectively enforcing social-distancing. Plus institutionalizing the lessons from the SARS pandemic allowed them to invest in healthcare infrastructure for future pandemic situations like this.
China, the focal point of the coronavirus pandemic, has been extensively using Artificial intelligence for accurate prediction of infection and mortality risk assessments by analyzing the personal data via mobile trackers, travel history, and clinical data. The nation also employed robots and drones to transport medical aid, infectious samples, food and essential deliveries, sterilization, and surveillance of public and public areas. Meanwhile, Jamaica achieved success through well planned strategic measures like early public response early case identification, imparting health literacy to the citizens, swift procurement of medical resources. Jamaica had also enforced curfews to reduce community transmission, made sure for transparent and effective communication among the governing bodies. All these efforts put the Caribbean nation under the global light and received appreciation from the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
All these success stories were possible thanks to bold, swift, and compelling leadership that led to better execution of the strategies to fight COVID-19. In times of such emergencies, leaders should have a plan to take proactive, responsive, and decisive action. Although it is not always possible to get the same rate of success in every plan, policies, and measures, the least thing they can do is to be prepared for each scenario.