Are you feeling anxious? Distraught? Fearful?
Gosh, I wouldn’t blame you.
The headlines make it sound like it’s the end of the world. The coronavirus is spreading in Europe and America. The financial markets are in retreat. A recession appears imminent.
But what if I told you there was actually some sunshine? Good news? Would you believe me?
Well, amidst all the wild speculation and gossip, it’s easy enough this important fact — the pandemic has been stopped in its tracks in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
I can imagine you raising your eyebrows already and smacking your lips. ‘Hey, why haven’t I heard about this?’
Well, gee, that’s what we’re here for. To give you a sense of perspective that you might not otherwise get from the mainstream media.
The untold story
Now, here’s the important thing to know: in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the number of reported cases in each territory remain below 500. There has been no sharp increase. In fact, the level of infections has actually gone flat and remained static.
This is an extraordinary achievement, especially when you consider the three risk factors:
- These territories are in close proximity to China.
- They are major transportation hubs in the Asian region.
- They have densely packed populations.
On the face of it, these places are incredibly vulnerable. They should have been the first to crumble in the face of the viral onslaught. And yet the complete opposite has happened — these territories have succeeded in turning the tide.
What’s the secret of their success? Can we learn from their front-line experience in this viral war? And is this a sign of more good news to come?
Singapore’s experience with the coronavirus
There’s no doubt about it: the Singaporeans have meant business from the very beginning.
Within three days of the outbreak being declared in Wuhan, they acted swiftly and decisively. They identified inbound travellers from China, assessing and isolating individuals at a very early stage.
A wide range of healthcare protocols were activated.
Coronavirus tests were made readily available. Hospitals went into heightened alert. Campaigns for public and personal hygiene were rolled out. The government compensated employers and employees for any workdays lost. Order and calm were maintained throughout.
At every critical juncture, Singapore has remained one step ahead of the virus — and strikingly enough, they have done it without resorting to the harsh authoritarian measures that we’ve seen happen in China.
Singapore appears to have found a balance between protecting civil liberties and maintaining strict quarantine.
How is this possible?
Well, consider this: even in ordinary times, Singaporean society is renowned for being clean, efficient, and disciplined. They have a habit of maintaining a constant state of readiness. This is based on their past experience fighting the SARS epidemic in 2003, and then the H1N1 outbreak in 2009.
Indeed, the Singaporeans have been rehearsing for this event for over 10 years. And now it appears that their extraordinary vigilance has paid off.
As a testament to Singapore’s ability to survive and thrive under stress, Morgan Stanley has issued a ‘Buy’ recommendation for the country’s stocks.
Singapore appears well-placed to weather this challenge — and maybe even be the first to prosper once this storm passes.
Hong Kong’s experience with the coronavirus
Hong Kong has a pressing a problem: it shares a common border with mainland China.
On average, over 300,000 people cross over daily.
The sheer volume of human traffic has made it impossible to completely seal off entry. So authorities have had to rely on a different strategy — they focused their resources on managing the rate of infection within the community itself.
Like Singapore, Hong Kong has learned valuable lessons from the 2003 SARS epidemic. They have rehearsed extensively for this moment, and now it was just a matter of responding with the green light.
Public events were cancelled. Hygiene and social distancing were enforced. Schoolchildren were restricted to online lessons. Employees were encouraged to work from home.
In a creative solution, Hong Kong authorities even went one step further — they transformed vacant construction sites into quarantine centres. This has kept the pressure off existing hospital facilities, freeing up doctors and nurses to attend to patients in order of priority.
The rate of infections was swiftly curbed and brought under control.
This is quite a feat.
Just think about it: Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world. And it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Wuhan virus epicentre. And yet Hong Kong has rallied to contain the threat in record time.
It’s a world-class response. It must surely serve as a textbook example for how to deal with a crisis emerging, quite literally, on your doorstep.
Taiwan’s experience with the coronavirus
From the start, Taiwan faced a cruel challenge: it could expect almost no information or cooperation from China.
The reason for this is political. China considers Taiwan a rogue territory, and ties between the two have been frosty for some years now.
Under any other circumstance, this adversarial relationship would have spelled trouble. But, oddly enough, this climate of distrust actually worked in Taiwan’s favour.
You see, the Taiwanese are used to being given the cold shoulder by the Chinese — and as a result, they have long developed a sixth sense about their neighbour’s intentions.
Case in point: while China continued to downplay the seriousness of the Wuhan situation throughout December 2019, the Taiwanese were perceptive enough look past the propaganda. They could sense a looming crisis, even though the rest of the world remained blissfully unaware of the threat.
This gave Taiwan a head start in preparing its emergency response. Instead of relying on second-hand information, they decided to take the initiative. They dispatched their own medical team to China. They wanted see the true nature of the virus for themselves.
Information is power. And more than any other nation, Taiwan was the first to see the threat for what it was — and they moved quickly to neutralise it with an astounding array of 124 safety protocols.
You could say that the coronavirus met its match in Taiwan…and thankfully, it was stopped with a pre-emptive strike before it had a chance to progress any further.
The road ahead?
The mainstream media would have you believe that the coronavirus is savage and unstoppable.
But they’re wrong.
Three separate governments have already confronted the threat — and they have scored important victories.
It’s clear now that these policies will make the biggest difference:
- A unified public healthcare response.
- The promise of economic stimulus.
- Calm and rational behaviour.
This should give us hope that if we play our cards right, the virus will eventually hit a brick wall…then slowly melt away into insignificance.
Never underestimate humanity’s ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome.
To borrow a phrase from one of my favourite movies: ‘The night is darkest before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.’
PS: Sooner or later, this coronavirus hysteria will pass. And when that happens, most experts believe that global stocks will rally and rebound. We have already identified several fantastic companies that are primed to surge. You can find out more about them in our Lifetime Wealth Investor programme. Watch out. This could be the biggest opportunity for you to build a profitable portfolio since 2009…