As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, a growing number of countries, including the UK, are beginning to contemplate what an end to the lockdown might look like, and, above all, how to avoid or limit the damage of a second wave of infections. With a vaccine estimated to be at least a year away, and various treatments still in their testing phase, a great deal of hope is being pinned on the possibility of containing the spread post-lockdown via contact tracing and vigorous social distancing.

Various countries in East Asia – in particular Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea – are widely looked to as models in this regard, having effectively used these tactics to limit the spread of coronavirus. However, a closer look at these cases shows just how difficult such an endeavour will be