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„COVID-19“, „The invisible enemy“, „pandemic“, „quarantine“

These headlines and terms are familiar to society in relation to the coronavirus (or “SARS-CoV-2”). Since the spread of the virus in Germany has progressed rapidly, the government has responded with restrictions for the population. These are to protect the country’s inhabitants from an explosive spread of the virus.

The restrictions include the closure of schools, nurseries, child daycare centres and catering businesses as well as the introduction of restrictions to going out and having contact with others. But how can this crisis be overcome? What strategies are there out of the lockdown?

One strategy is the achievement of a herd immunity. For this, approximately 70% of the global population must have been infected with the virus in order to become immune to it and to prevent further spread of the virus. Sweden is a country that is deploying this method. However, this method is receiving criticism due to a higher fatality rate.

Tracking apps are to help trace infection chains and, by creating movement profiles, warn other people who are in danger. All the relevant data is exchanged via Bluetooth or GPS. Tracking apps are already being used successfully in Asian countries such as China and Korea. However, due to country-specific data protection regulations, use of such apps is not possible within a narrow time frame in all countries.

Another method is social distancing. Here, all social contact is to be reduced to a minimum. This means no visiting family and friends and the closure of national borders. Additionally, school pupils and university students can receive home schooling and employees can work from home or in suitable shift models. One is to leave one’s own home only to buy food, go to the doctor and to go to work. The restriction of contact is to stem the spread of the virus enormously.

The coronavirus is to be combatted using a suitable vaccine. So far, there is no approved preparation. A few vaccines are already being tested. However, it is unclear how long the development of a vaccine will take.

The aforementioned strategies are currently being used to get out of the lockdown.

The Bavarian government has since relaxed some of the restrictions. This includes teaching pupils at school, the opening of catering establishments and visiting family members. The requirements are following hygiene and distancing rules. This means wearing mouth and nose protection masks as well as adherence to a certain minimum distance.
The public are now gradually returning to their usual everyday routine, though with restrictions. The existing rules on hygiene and distancing are now largely established and accepted in society. Which strategy is the correct one, however, is hard to judge. Due to daily changes and constantly developing research findings, the exit strategy must be adapted individually to the current situation.

Whatever route out of the lockdown is pursued, a lengthy process back to normality must be anticipated. A quick end is currently not foreseeable. However, one thing is sure: in addition to the many negative aspects, the coronavirus situation also has a few positive aspects.

These include new food for thought regarding the digitalisation of companies and the structuring of shopping, sales and logistics chains.

Best regards

Stefanie Wellenhofer
Logistics and Packaging Planning

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