Taipei’s response to the corona virus infection is one of the best in the world. The island, which has a population of 23 million, last recorded a case that spread domestically on April 12, which is Easter Sunday. As of Thursday, it had confirmed 553 cases – only 55 of which were local transactions. Seven deaths have been reported.
Taiwan will never have to make tough locks. It does not seek to impose as severe restrictions on civil liberties as China’s mainland.
Taiwan confirmed the first report of the Corona virus novel on January 21, after which Wuhan residents were banned from going to the island. All travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau must be screened.
All this happened before Wuhan was locked up on January 23rd. By March, Taiwan had banned all foreigners from entering the island, except for ambassadors, residents and those with special entry visas.
But Taiwan has advantages that its peers in the West do not.
One is geography – Taiwan is an island, so it is easy for authorities to control entry and exit through its borders.
Taiwan also had experience on its side. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an interview last month that Taiwan had worked to develop the ability to cope with an epidemic since it was hit by a severe respiratory illness (SARS) in 2003.
“So, when we heard that there were some secret pneumonia cases in China, the patients were treated in solitary confinement and we knew it was something similar,” he said.
Authorities implemented the island’s Central Epidemiology Command, which was set up next to SARS, to coordinate between various ministries. The government increased production of mask and protective equipment to ensure that there would be a steady supply of BPE.
Sen Xien-jen, a former vice president of Taiwan who is an epidemiologist by training, said locks are not the best. Sen also said that mass testing programs carried out on China’s mainland, where millions of people would be screened when a few cases were discovered, were unnecessary.
“Very careful communication tracking and the most severe isolation of close contacts is the best way to have Govit-19,” he said.
CNN’s Paula Hancox, James Griffiths and Meenkatten Jah contributed to the report.