When news of the coronavirus outbreak grabbed international headlines, many health experts predicted that Taiwan would be one of the worst affected nations due to its proximity to the mainland. The opposite has happened instead.
Taiwan has succeeded in restricting the CCP coronavirus. There have only been 363 cases of coronavirus infections from the country as of May 6, with just 5 fatalities. Total deaths per million are only 0.08 as compared to China’s value of 2.
Taiwan was one of the first countries to react to the COVID-19 outbreak with urgency. On December 31, the country started screening passengers coming in from Wuhan. Most other nations were still treating COVID-19 as some distant epidemic that won’t hurt them.
Taiwan realized early on that it had to act swiftly and decisively to avoid a pandemic wrecking their society. On January 23, it banned people from Wuhan and on February 6, all Chinese visitors were banned.
“To ensure coordination, Taiwan set up a unified command center, led by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which manages resources, holds daily briefings, and is in control of public messaging. The authorities have also moved quickly to track down infected persons and map the cases to show the sources of infection. Educating the public on the risks of the illness and precautions to take through television notices and posters is also a big part of anti-coronavirus efforts,” according to Foreign Policy.
The country implemented strict laws that made hoarding face masks a crime and ensured that masks were available to all citizens at the cheapest price. Taiwan used big data to identify potential cases of infections. Those who were infected were quarantined at their residence, with officials regularly calling them to ensure that they did not leave their homes.
The fact that Taiwan has one of the best healthcare systems in the world is also a contributing factor. All health data of a citizen is stored in a central storage system that can be accessed by any doctor in Taiwan. This makes sharing patient health data between clinics a quick affair.
Plus, Taiwan’s leaders are not just politicians but experts in various fields. Take the case of Vice President Chen Chien-jen, who is an epidemiologist with experience in battling the 2003 SARS outbreak. “Throughout the current outbreak, Chen has provided consistent public service announcements and has played something of a consultative role to Taiwan’s health minister,” according to CW.
China has recruited about 5,000 people for a Phase 1 trial of a potential CPP coronavirus vaccine. After being injected with the vaccine, the participants will be quarantined for 14 days during which their vitals will be regularly monitored.
Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine are also working on a vaccine. However, they do not expect the product to be ready for public use anytime soon.
“We are testing one version of our vaccine on mice and should have initial results within weeks. We are ready to test another version in mice, and results from that should take one month… It can take a year to a year and a half for a vaccine to be available for human trials,” the researchers said in a statement.
A team of researchers from Italy studied the SARS CoV-2 virus responsible for the current COVID-19 outbreak. They found that the virus is very slow when it comes to mutating. This is good news since it means that any potential vaccine developed in the future should work in diverse populations across the world.