Medical staff member preparing a COVID-19 vaccine with a syringe injection while patient sits patiently with her bare arm out.

Varying reaction

12 July 2021

The article at a glance

The response to coronavirus differed between East and West, says Professor Zhang Wenhong in an article in the China Report of Cambridge Judge Business School.

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The response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) differed between East and West, says Professor Zhang Wenhong in an article in the Cambridge Judge Business School’s China Report.

Divergent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic around the world have in part reflected cultural differences between East and West, says Professor Zhang Wenhong, Head of the Centre of Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, in an article in the China Report from the Business School’s China Advisory Council (CAC).

“Western developed countries rely more on vaccines and drugs,” writes Professor Zhang, who is Leader of the Shanghai’s COVID-19 Medical Treatment Expert Group. “Historically, vaccines and drugs have been successful in fighting epidemics and pandemics. Every time there is an epidemic/pandemic such as tuberculosis, AIDS, viral hepatitis, technology is the ultimate way to get humanity through the disaster.”

“East Asian countries, with a stronger sense of collective and crisis awareness, are more receptive to the implementation of non-drug interventions. China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea have achieved better control of the pandemic due to greater acceptance of non-drug interventions,” says the article, entitled “Analysis on the difference and trend of anti-COVID-19 international strategies”.

He writes further that “it is not that the more technologically advanced the country is, the better at controlling the pandemic. Sometimes, the reverse may be the case.”

With vaccination programmes rolling out, he says that countries around the world can learn from each other’s experience in prevention and control. “They can quickly promote the coverage of universal vaccination and strengthen the construction of public health system, so as to achieve early warning, rapid response, precise prevention and control and elimination of cases without affecting social activities,” the article says.

The China Report includes five essays on:

  • the evolution of China’s securities market by Wang Boming, Editor-in-Chief CAIJING magazine
  • how China’s securities market is setting off again, by Dr Gong Shaolin, former Chairman of China Merchants Securities
  • climate change by Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry
  • the future of higher education by Cambridge Judge Dean Professor Christoph Loch.