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Dr. Nadine Voelkner: 'We have to start acting like Asians, and quickly too'

17 March 2020

Faculty of Arts researcher and Assistant Professor of International Relations, Dr. Nadine Voelkner, spoke with the Dutch newspaper the Algemeen Dagblad (AD) about the novel coronavirus and how governments deal with infectious diseases. (Disclaimer: the interview is in Dutch).

"'The global picture of this pandemic shows that the spread of the virus in Europe is faster than in a number of Asian countries,' says Nadine Voelkner. 'This has everything to do with the experience that Asia had from dealing with the SARS outbreak in 2003, which left deep marks in Hong Kong at the time. Since then, Hong Kong has learned many lessons and invested heavily in information and prevention.' Voelkner, a German, texted this week with a friend in Hong Kong. 'There is no one on the streets,' her friend says. People avoid shops, most people work from home, and everyone wears medical masks. It is only busy in supermarkets and pharmacies. And she washes her hands a thousand times a day, as my friend described it.'"

Read the full interview on the Algemeen Dagblad's website.

A security guard measures a visitor's temperature in a government building in Tokyo ©AFP
A security guard measures a visitor's temperature in a government building in Tokyo ©AFP
Dr. Nadine Voelkner
Dr. Nadine Voelkner

About Nadine Voelkner

Dr. Nadine Voelkner is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Arts. She is affiliated with the Groningen Center for Health and Humanities (based at the Faculty of Arts) and Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health. She is currently researching government policy on infectious diseases and places these diseases in a broader context. The emergence and transmission of viruses through contact between humans and animals and how we deal with them also has social and political causes and consequences.

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Last modified:18 March 2020 3.25 p.m.
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