Dutch PM Mark Rutte after he announced handshakes would be off-limits.

The medical magazine The Lancet was one of the first Western media to point out the rest of the world could learn from the way China had dealt with the corona crisis. The severe lock-down of Wuhan and Hubei province, and the extended deployment of medics from the rest of China, was then still seen as too draconian to be used on other parts of the world.

Now Italy is in a lock-down and medical care in Northern parts are in crisis, while the rest of Europe looks surprised. “They are in a crisis,” said a shaken Dutch doctor on Dutch TV last night, after he made a phone call to a colleague in Milan to ask how they were doing. Displaying confidence in your own capabilities sometimes becomes a handicap.

Virologists in China now admit Wuhan was too late to take their drastic measure and would have saved halved the number of corona patients and related deaths if they had locked down the city five days earlier. But despite those experiences in China, the rest of the world is complacent about the arrival of the virus and resist measures that would stop the virus from spreading.

“Do not shake hands,” is the most drastic solution of the rest of Europe, while there is no sign medics of the rest of Europe are rushing to help Italy to contain the current crisis.  It might be too little, too late. Learning from China could have been a good idea.

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