As the world is still reeling from the effects of coronavirus, some countries have shown remarkable efforts in containing its outbreak. Taiwan’s coronavirus response has managed to restrict the number of cases within the 500 mark.
With Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and America bearing the worst brunt of the outbreak, Taiwan, as a small island, tackled the pandemic better than most of the first world countries as reports from various sources suggest.
During 2003, the SARS outbreak Taiwan, along with Hong Kong and China, received the worst hit. The country quarantined over 150,000 people, and the fatality count was 180. Taking lessons from the previous outbreak, Taiwan’s pandemic outbreak management responded with acute diligence and administrational brilliance. As early as January, Taiwan issued strict border control and made masks mandatory, during public interactions and outings. Post-2003’s trauma, the government, equipped their medical and healthcare systems to battle an outbreak, and if the mortality rate is anything to go by, it has paid off tremendously well.
“Taiwan rapidly produced and implemented a list of at least 124 action items in the past five weeks to protect public health,” report co-author Jason Wang, a Taiwanese doctor and associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine, said in a statement. “The policies and actions go beyond border control because they recognized that that wasn’t enough.” Taiwan’s state of the art healthcare system moved quickly to a potential threat in January that was yet to wreck the rest of the world then.
In a study conducted in January, Johns Hopkins University said Taiwan was one of the most at-risk areas outside of mainland China — owing to its nearby proximity, ties, and transport links. Stringent management and guidelines like to ban travel from many parts of China, to stop cruise ships docking at the island’s ports, and introduce severe punishments for anyone found breaching home quarantine orders averted Taiwan from becoming another America.
“Taiwan’s government learned from its 2003 SARS experience and established a public health response mechanism for enabling rapid actions for the next crisis. Well-trained and experienced teams of officials were quick to recognize the crisis and activated emergency management structures to address the emerging outbreak,” said Wong.
The country’s transparent approach, which included medical officials holding daily briefings to the surplus of masks and the ramping up of tests for all citizens, flattened the curve right from the beginning.