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Office workers pray for business prosperity as their company reopens after the Chinese New Year holidays in Taipei, Taiwan.

Taiwan vs Coronavirus

The world is amidst a crisis it has never faced before. Even the developed countries like the United States of America, Germany, and Italy — countries that boast of some of the best health care systems — are struggling to contain this Coronavirus. Death statistics are something of a horror scene, and they are not showing any signs of halting. Yet, in the middle of the battle against Coronavirus, Taiwan has proclaimed a ray of hope to the world.

Taiwan is a small island near China. It has a population of 23.54 million, which is about the same as that of Australia. Taiwan is a democratic nation that has been incessantly pressurized by China and its allies to follow the One-China principle. . The WHO doesn’t even recognize Taiwan as a member due to China’s pressure. But this has taught Taiwan to be self-sufficient and shape itself into a responsible nation for its citizens.

Taiwan had suffered tremendously at the hands of the SARS outbreak in 2003. The fatality percentage of SARS in Taiwan was 27%, and more than 150,000 people quarantined on the island, and nearly 181 deceased. This outbreak prepared Taiwan for any future crisis that could hit the island. Their healthcare system was improved, and now it is one of the best in the world. They also set up Taiwan’s National Health Command Center (NHCC), for a swift response to any health emergency.

Cases in various countries comparing to Taiwan(Source: Bloomberg)

When the news broke out about the Coronavirus in the run-up to Lunar new year, the world stood still, thinking whether they should take any action or not. Not Taiwan, though. It knew from its past experiences that early response is crucial to controlling such health hazards, and thus, called its forces to action immediately. The NHCC produced a list of at least 124 action items and implanted it for the safety of the public. These actions included border control measures, alerting cities, wide-scale testing, and punishing those who don’t follow the quarantine guidelines. These steps were crucial and provided them with a head start against Coronavirus. The Taiwanese Government boosted the production of masks by mobilizing government funds and military personnel. They also launched a name-based rationing system for mask purchases at pharmacies and local public health agencies. This system helped people to order masks online and pick them up from their nearby convenience stores. These measures helped Taiwan achieve a strategic distribution of its limited resources and meet its health care needs. The government also started tracing any immigrants who landed in Taiwan and imposed a strict 14-day self-quarantine on them. They also used contact tracing to find out potential patients and eliminate any cases that may have been brewing. Negative reinforcement, too, played a crucial role.

At the same time, as an incentive, the government decided to pay 1,000 NTD per day (about $450 for 14 days) for those undergoing quarantine.

Taiwan has also been helping the world in every means it can. The country has donated 1million face masks to India and will donate 10 million masks to countries that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have shared complete information on confirmed cases, travel and contact histories of patients, and border control measures to countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Taiwan has abided by the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR 2005) in notifying WHO of confirmed COVID-19 cases — thus fulfilling its duty as a global citizen.

Source: Focus Taiwan

A virus sees no border, and if organizations like the WHO are working for the health care of the entire world, then it shouldn’t either. We are currently going through testing times, and we can’t let politics keep Taiwan away from helping the world and vice versa.

Taiwan has been making immense progress and neglecting its contribution to the Global Health Security might turn out to be a mistake.

Taiwan will continue to work with the countries and try to enjoy its fundamental right to health, echoing the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: No one should be left behind.

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Aditya Mukherjee

Aditya Mukherjee

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