Thailand among best-prepared countries for epidemics

As countries around the world grapple with how to contain the COVID19 coronavirus, Thailand is among the nations best prepared for epidemics, pandemics, and other health emergencies, according to the Global Health Security Index.

The Index, published most recently in October 2019, is the work of United States-based Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Economist Intelligence Unit. The report examined 195 countries and gauged their readiness to cope with a devastating epidemic or pandemic.

The conclusion was that national health security is “fundamentally weak” around the world and that no nation is fully prepared. Nonetheless, some countries fared much better than others. The country made the category of “most prepared,” and achieved the sixth-highest score on preparedness. Thailand scored 73.2 out of a possible 100 points. The global average was 40.2, and the average for high-income countries was 51.9.

The United States finished first with a score of 83.5, followed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada. South Korea was the only other non-Western nation in the category of most prepared.

As of February 21st, Thailand has recorded 35 cases of people infected with the COVID19 coronavirus but no deaths. Nineteen people have already been discharged from hospital, while 16 remain and two have severe symptoms.

Thailand is an extremely popular destination for tourists from China, where the COVID19 virus originated. So Thai health officials and the public have been extremely concerned about the possibility of an epidemic.

Despite Thailand’s preparedness, the situation could change rapidly, as the number of cases in many well-prepared nations, escalated fast.

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