News Brief

Explained: How Taiwan Has Come Up With The Strongest Resistance To Covid-19 

Swarajya Staff

Mar 06, 2020, 03:39 PM | Updated 03:39 PM IST

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter
  • Being extra prepared, extra early appears to have paid off for Taiwan.
  • When the Chinese city Wuhan became overwhelmed by the Covid-19 cases in December, it was expected that very soon Taiwan will also experience a bad outbreak.

    However, despite sitting near Japan, China and South Korea, three countries with bad outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus, Taiwan has reported only 42 cases, and one death till now, far less than China, with more than 80,000 cases and more than 2,900 deaths.

    “..most people originally figured Taiwan was going to be miserable this time because of ties with mainland China are so close, and that it couldn’t be avoided,” You Ying-lung, chairman of the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation polling agency, was quoted as saying.

    “But as the things became clear, it turned out Taiwan wasn’t so miserable and in fact compared to other countries in the world, it’s got the best performance,” he added.

    Taiwan’s pro-active approach paid off

    The analysts credit the Taiwanese government for extra early, effective preparedness, which reportedly is also the reason behind a jump in the President Tsai Ing-wen’s approval rating.

    Early on, the government put up an efficient checking system for the passengers coming from China, and also, before most other Asian countries, cut off the flights from much of China.

    On 31 December, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) started onboard quarantine of all direct flights from Wuhan. According to the CDC, by 9 January it had “inspected” 14 flights with 1,317 passengers and attendants.

    In February, the Taiwan government began to ration facemask purchases to avoid a scarcity caused by panic-buying.

    Today, almost every public building in Taipei offers hand sanitisers, and many, like schools, make everyone entering the premises to be checked for fever.

    Taiwan’s public schools resumed classes just two weeks later than scheduled after a break in February.

    Effective communication and transparency plays an important role in building the trust and arresting panic.

    The CDC announces new cases every day, including the details on how new patients might have gotten sick and who else they could have infected.

    It’s clear that Taiwan has learnt from its past experience.

    Seventeen years ago, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus, also originating in China, took 73 lives in Taiwan.

    After controlling the virus spread, the next battle for the Taiwan government is to minimise the economic impact of the outbreak.

    Lack of flights has caused tourism revenue to slump. Local events were also cancelled. The production slowed down as workers stayed home to save themselves from getting infected. The Taiwanese economy was hit as it is well-connected with the Chinese economy.

    The government is reportedly planning to come out with discount vouchers after the virus is controlled to encourage spending, while last month, the Taiwanese parliament approved a $1.96 billion stimulus package to support companies which suffered losses due to the outbreak.

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