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Home / World / Taiwan Covid: How did they have no cases of local transmission within 200 days

Taiwan Covid: How did they have no cases of local transmission within 200 days



Taipei’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most effective in the world. The last report of 23 million people on the island was on April 12, which was a case spread locally on Easter Sunday. As of Thursday, it had confirmed 553 cases, of which only 55 were locally transmitted. Seven people have died.

Easter is an important milestone for the United States, because President Donald Trump said a month ago that he wanted the country to “open up and reluctantly go” before the holidays.
By then, 1.7 million people had been infected worldwide, and the virus had killed 110,000 people. According to Johns Hopkins University, last Friday, these numbers were close to 45 million cases and more than 1
.1 million deaths.
Taiwan has achieved milestone achievements. Within a week, France and Germany issued new blockade measures, while the United States confirmed a record of more than 88,000 cases in one day. The population of Florida is similar to that of Taiwan, with approximately 21 million people, and 4,188 cases were found on Wednesday alone.

Taiwan has never implemented strict blockade measures. Nor does it impose strict restrictions on civil liberties as in mainland China.

On the contrary, Taiwan’s response has focused on speed. Taiwan authorities began screening passengers on direct flights from Wuhan, where the virus was first discovered on December 31, 2019-at the time the virus was mainly the subject of rumors and few reports.

Taiwan confirmed the first reported case of the novel coronavirus on January 21, and then banned Wuhan residents from traveling to the island. All travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau must be checked.

All of this happened before Wuhan itself was blocked on January 23. By March, Taiwan banned all foreigners from entering the island, except diplomats, residents, and those holding special entry visas.

But Taiwan has advantages that Western countries do not have.

One is geography-Taiwan is an island, so officials can more easily control the entry and exit of its borders.

Taiwan also has experience. Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wu Guoqiang said in an interview last month that after the fatal outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Taiwan has worked hard to strengthen its ability to respond to the pandemic.

He said: “So when we heard that some secret cases of pneumonia in China were being treated in isolation, we knew it was similar.”

The authorities activated the island’s central infectious disease command center, which was established after the SARS outbreak to coordinate the relations between various ministries. The government has also increased the production of masks and protective equipment to ensure a stable supply of personal protective equipment.

The government has also invested in large-scale testing and fast and effective contact tracking.

Former Taiwanese Vice President Chen Jianren, a trained epidemiologist, said that the blockade is not ideal. Chen also said that the type of large-scale testing program adopted in mainland China is also unnecessary, where millions of people will be screened when a few cases are detected.

He said: “Very careful contact tracking and strict isolation of close contacts are the best way to contain Covid-19.”

CNN’s Paula Hancocks, James Griffiths and Meenketan Jha contributed to this report.


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