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This report examines how governments — and the societies around them — mobilised intelligence to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. It also makes recommendations as to how they could improve their ability to organise intelligence for future challenges of all kinds, from pandemics to climate change.
The study draws on dozens of interviews with senior officials and others in many countries including Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, USA, Chile, Canada, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, UAE, South Korea and the UK, as well as the European Commission and UN agencies — along with roundtables and literature analysis.
There was extraordinary innovation globally around the gathering of data, from mass serological testing to analysis of sewage, from mobilising mobile phone data to citizen generated data on symptoms. There was an equally impressive explosion of research and evidence; and innovative approaches to problem solving and creativity, from vaccine development to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, the authors also point to problems: