How Did Taiwan Manage the Coronavirus so Well?
Despite being one of the closest countries to mainland China, Taiwan has done a remarkable job of keeping the novel Coronavirus from spreading in its population.
As of Monday morning, Taiwan boasted only 49 confirmed cases of the virus and only 1 death. With a population of more than 23 million people living in Taiwan and direct flights to Wuhan, this is really a remarkable achievement. Furthermore, an estimated 850,000 Taiwanese citizens live and work in China and the outbreak occurred during the Chinese New Year, one of the busiest travel times of the year.
One of the stars of Taiwan's success would have to be Audrey Tang. As Taiwan's Digital Minister, her actions might have been the difference for Taiwan's outcome. A former computer hacker who now devotes her life to helping the public good has saved the lives of countless people.
Taiwan was the first country to use Ai to map the spread of the virus and created real-time digital updates to alert citizens to the heat zones that contained a high amount of infected people. This knowledge empowered their citizens to make safer choices which helped stem the flow of the virus.
The digital updates included notes for their citizens on what masks to buy and when. Taiwanese citizens were getting intelligent updates from their government long before the US government even admitted there might be an issue.
When news first broke of the first Coronavirus case in Wuhan China on December 31st, Taiwanese officials started restricting Chinese flights immediately. All flights from the region were being screened heavily or simply cancelled and each passenger who entered Taiwan received a thorough medical examination before entry was allowed to Taiwan.
Clearly Taiwan seized the day and is much better for it.
But, there are a few advantages that Taiwan has, which makes it very difficult to replicate their success with other countries. First and foremost, as an island nation, Taiwan is naturally separated from the rest of the world with ocean borders that will clearly stem any tide of infected patient flow. However, as the UK has seen their Coronavirus cases skyrocket, clearly being an island nation is not enough on its own.
Taiwan also has a centralized population and medical registry system. This allows tracking patients within the country so that medical assets can deployed as efficiently as possible.
Taiwan's decisive early actions have set it apart from the rest of the world. Hopefully, the rest of the world will take heed from Taiwan's actions so that governments more efficiently deal with medical and biological disasters in the future. Clearly there is a reason Taiwan leads the world in microelectronic fabrication, an impressive nation to say the least!