Why #Taiwan can prevent rapid spread of #COVID-19

| March 12, 2020

The outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which originated from Wuhan, China, has in recent weeks drawn the attention of the world. This epidemic has claimed over 4,000 lives, infected more than 118,000 people and spread to more than 100 countries, including all member states of the EU.

Taiwan, with its proximity to China and frequent people-to-people contact between both sides, bears the brunt of this contagious disease, and was once regarded as most vulnerable to the epidemic. From the very beginning of the outbreak, Taiwan has proactively taken comprehensive measures to cope with this epidemic. As of today, 48 confirmed cases and 1 death have been registered in Taiwan, far fewer than those of South Korea, Japan, Singapore and some European countries. There are only sporadic transmissions and no mass infection in Taiwan, which is a sharp contrast to the dire situation in China.

 The information and internet links listed below gives an overview of why Taiwan is able to prevent a rapid spread of the COVID-19 and what effective measures have been taken in response.

Technological measures

  • How Taiwan Used Big Data, Transparency and a Central Command to Protect Its People from Coronavirus

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762689

On example of how Taiwan uses Big Data in the Covid-19 crisis: “Taiwan integrated its national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database to begin the creation of big data for analytics. That allowed them case identification by generating real-time alerts during a clinical visit based on travel history and clinical symptoms.”

Starting Thursday (12 March), people in Taiwan will have the option of pre-ordering their weekly ration of surgical face masks online and collecting them at designated convenience stores, as the government is rolling out a new purchasing system on a test basis, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday (10 March).

Prompt decisions, clear communication

  • Passengers with fevers to be barred from six MRT stations

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202003090019

The Taipei Metro system is to expand its ban on passengers with high temperatures to five additional MRT stations by the end of March, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang said Monday.

  • Taiwan mask output to hit 10 million per day by next week

https://focustaiwan.tw/business/202003090013

Taiwan is ramping up its production of surgical face masks, with the goal of reaching 10 million per day by next week, using newly acquired equipment, in an effort to meet domestic demand amid the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin said Monday.

  • Home isolation/quarantine subjects to get compensation

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202003100020

Individuals subject to home isolation or home quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus are entitled to monetary compensation for the mandatory movement constraints on them, according to a Cabinet bulletin released Tuesday. For each person quarantined in isolation, only one caregiver is entitled to the NT$1,000 compensation per day, according to the regulations.

  • About 400 military personnel in Taiwan under home quarantine

https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202003100023

Approximately 400 members of Taiwan’s Armed Forces are currently under home quarantine as part of the military’s efforts to keep the COVID-19 coronavirus at bay, Defence Minister Yen De-fa said Tuesday. The military personnel were asked to remain at home for 14 days because either they or a family member had visited destinations that turned out to be high risk areas for COVID-19, Yen said in a legislative hearing.

Global response

  • President Tsai praises Taiwan’s COVID-19 preparedness

https://www.taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=10&post=173056&unitname=Politics-Top-News&postname=President-Tsai-praises-Taiwan%E2%80%99s-COVID-19-preparedness

The world is taking note of the measures taken by Taiwan, president Tsai Ing-wen says. “The achievements highlight how Taiwan is an indispensable link in the global disease-fighting network.”

  • Taiwan’s efforts combating COVID-19 earn international praise

https://www.taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=2&post=172980&unitname=Politics-Top-News&postname=Taiwan%E2%80%99s-efforts-combating-COVID-19-earn-international-praise

In an article titled The Coronavirus Outbreak: How Democratic Taiwan Outperformed Authoritarian China on The Diplomat, Victor Pu said Taiwan has shown the world the best defence against disease is free flow of information. Government measures such as releasing timely updates on social media and implementing a surgical mask rationing system that includes a real-time map of availability are keeping the total number of cases down, he added.

  • Coverage by worldwide news media

United Kingdom

France

Germany

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/coronavirus-erfolgreich-bekaempft-wie-taiwan-den-covid-19-ausbruch-verhinderte-und-die-who-davon-nichts-wissen-will/25613942.html

Poland

https://wyborcza.pl/7,75399,25750815,goraczka-pod-specjalnym-nadzorem-jak-tajwan-radzi-sobie-z-epidemia.html?disableRedirects=true

Japan

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/03/1e7864b88592-focus-taiwan-beating-the-odds-on-covid-19.html

Statistics

CNA graphic: Breakdown of Taiwan’s 45 COVID-19 cases

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202003065001

As of March 6, Taiwan has confirmed 45 cases of COVID-19. This link holds a graphic with details about the cases.

More information

https://focustaiwan.tw/

https://www.taiwantoday.tw/

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