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  • Writer's picturePathogen Prevention Team

How is Taiwan Doing So Well? | News

Taiwan is an island of 23 million people off the coast of China. Over 850,000 of its citizens either reside or work in mainland China, and given the time of the outbreak, the Chinese New Year, experts predicted Taiwan to be the second-most affected by the coronavirus. However, this was not the case.

As of April 10, 2020, Taiwan has only had 382 confirmed cases and one death, an astonishingly low number considering its proximity to China and frequency of flights between the two countries. Taiwan's success is partly due to its early mobilization of specific strategies and plans implemented during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, according to the Stanford Health Policy.

On December 31, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization that China had several cases of pneumonia. That day, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control began monitoring passengers who arrived in the country from Wuhan. Government officials boarded flights from Wuhan as soon as they landed, monitoring passengers for symptoms. Clearly, they were quick to act. On January 26, Taiwan was the first country to ban flights from Wuhan.

By late February, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, had distributed nearly 6.5 million masks to primary and secondary schools as well as after-school institutions. On top of the masks, 84,000 liters of hand sanitizer and 25,000 forehead thermometers were given out. 

Taiwan's health-insurance system covers 99% of the population, therefore, people are not afraid to go to the hospital, and don’t have to choose between their personal and financial health. People get a free test for COVID-19, and if isolation is required, then the insurance system pays for food, lodging, and medical care.

Additionally, Taipei required television and radio stations to broadcast hourly public-service announcements about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and how people should prevent infection. The transparency allows fear to be reduced. 

Despite its close proximity to China, Taiwan was able to protect its citizens from the virus with its early action and the well-established healthcare system.

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