The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged public health systems and governments around the world on how to efficiently address this ongoing crisis by mitigating its impact on communities. Various measures were adopted around the world to reduce the spread of the disease, such as: different types of lock-downs, isolation/quarantine requirements, face-mask mandates, etc. However, these measures did not have the same impact in each country. Therefore, it is important to study and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of public health measures, in order to improve the management of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as, develop a tool box to manage future pandemics. Various research teams around the world are investigating these issues and trying to account for the different economic, cultural and geographical factors that would affect the repercussion of the pandemic.
One of such teams is led by Prof. Juhwan Oh, Professor of International Health Policy and Management at Seoul National University (SNU) College of Medicine and SNU Hospital, Republic of Korea, as well as by Dr. Dinara Turegeldiyeva, Head of the Laboratory of Biological Models, M. Aikimbayev’s National Scientific Center for Especially Dangerous Infections (NSCEDI), Republic of Kazakhstan. Both experts presented some of their initial findings at the 8th webinar of a series which was organized on 18 May 2021 by the European Union’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Risk Mitigating Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative to support countries with their response to the pandemic.
Prof. Oh's presentation, titled ‘Essential Public Health Measures for Effective Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Best Practice Comparative International Analysis from New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Republic of Korea’, described the different strategies to manage the pandemic before and after pharmaceutical interventions (i.e. therapeutics and vaccines) were available. Each phase of the pandemic showed different progressions for different countries and the impact the pandemic had on local economies was different as well. These differences in terms of impact seemed to be caused by cultural differences on the social capacity to isolate/quarantine versus the need for greater mobility restrictions.
Dr. Dinara Turegeldiyeva presented on the ‘Contribution of the Central Reference Laboratory for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19’, which provided an overview on the epidemiology work the Laboratory undertook to support the management of the COVID-19 crisis in Kazakhstan.
The objective of the webinar series, that is organized by the EU CBRN CoE, is to exchange the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to discuss and share with peers and learn from each other’s experiences, professional insights in the thematic subjects. The 8th Online Webinar was moderated by UNICRI’s Regional Coordinator for the South-East and Eastern European region (SEEE), Mr. Talgat Toleubayev and by the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) Dr. Hendrik Visser in close cooperation with representatives of the Republic of Korea and Kazakhstan. Simultaneous interpretation support and communication platform were provided by the staff of the EU CBRN CoE Project 53, which is implemented in partnership with the ISTC.
The EU CBRN CoE Initiative is funded by the European Commission and implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC). The European External Action Service is also involved in the follow-up to the initiative. The initiative is developed with the technical support of relevant international and regional organizations, the EU Member States, and other stakeholders, through coherent and effective cooperation at the national, regional and international level. The initiative involves 62 countries in eight regions of the world.