- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen detailed how the region prepared for the spread of coronavirus, from early travel restrictions and quarantine measures to rationing essential items.
- Tsai wrote an op-ed in Time magazine, writing the state’s preparedness stemmed from the “painful lessons” learned from the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s.
- “This success is no coincidence,” Tsai wrote. “A combination of efforts by medical professionals, government, private sector and society at large have armoured our country’s defences.”
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The president of Taiwan penned an op-ed for Time magazine explaining how the state managed its coronavirus outbreak with less than 400 cases.
Despite its proximity to the epicentre of the pandemic in Wuhan, China, Taiwan has only reported about 395 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, the coronavirus is ravaging other countries, with more than 2.1 million cases reported globally.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen wrote the state learned from the “painful lessons” of the SARS outbreak in 2003, which left Taiwan “scarred with the loss of dozens of lives.”
“This success is no coincidence,” Tsai wrote. “A combination of efforts by medical professionals, government, private sector and society at large have armoured our country’s defences.”
Upon first reports of the coronavirus throughout China in December and into January, Taiwan began to monitor people entering the state and made arrangements for travel restrictions and quarantine measures, Tsai wrote.
When the first coronavirus case was detected in the region on January 21, Taiwan “undertook rigorous investigative efforts to track travel and contact history for every patient, helping to isolate and contain the contagion before a mass community outbreak was possible,” the president wrote.
Tsai said Taiwan was even prepared in the instance of panic-buying by monitoring market spikes for essential supplies “at an early stage,” and the government took over production and rationing of masks to ensure the company would be adequately stocked.
Through a collaboration between the government and privately owned companies, which Tsai dubbed “Team Taiwan,” she wrote that masks were “available and affordable to both hospitals and the general public.”
The state ended up having a surplus of masks and began to donate to other countries in dire need like the US.
Recognised as a region of China, Taiwan is technically ineligible to participate in global organisations like the WHO and the UN. However, Tsai said the state remains “willing and able to utilise our strengths across manufacturing, medicine and technology to work with the world.”
“Global crises test the fabric of the inter-national community, stretching us at the seams and threatening to tear us apart,” she wrote. “… We must set aside our differences and work together for the benefit of humankind.”
“The fight against COVID-19 will require the collective efforts of people around the world.”
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