Taiwan’s COVID-19 numbers are currently below 400. This is compared to China, which has more than 82,000 reported cases. The low number of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, despite its close proximity to China, is quite significant.
Here are a number of points that Taiwan has handled very well in regard to the CCP coronavirus.
These are the key-points of things that differentiate Taiwan from the rest of the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases reported:
Taiwan took prompt action
Taiwan learned a lot from its SARS epidemic in 2003. A lot of this experience is coming in handy now when dealing with the current pandemic.
“(…) [Taiwan] is more prepared for the coronavirus outbreak than many other countries,” said Dr. Chunhuei Chi, a public health professor at Oregon State University in the US.
Compared to China, Taiwan was transparent with its people about the outbreak and thus prevented an unnecessary widespread of the disease among its population. Even though the WHO praised China for being transparent and collaborative in regard to the outbreak of the CCP coronavirus in Wuhan, it’s people couldn’t say the same.
Inside China, government officials downplayed how serious the virus really was and even tried to censor any news about the outbreak, how the virus transmitted from person to person, and the number of people infected. This allowed COVID-19 to spread widely before the CCP announced the epidemic to the public.
One of the first Chinese whistleblowers, Dr. Li Wenliang, was forced to sign a statement in which he was accused of making false statements that disturbed the public order. A short time later, he died after contracting COVID-19 from a patient.
Face mask production
Ahead of the high demand for masks in late January, the Taiwanese government anticipated the future need for face masks and started rationing its existing supply.
According to health experts, Taiwan utilized the strength of its manufacturing sector and invested about US$6.8 million to create 60 new face mask production lines in early March.
Taking the lead where others fell short
Compared to Taiwan, the U.S. didn’t anticipate the need for face masks well enough. Part of the reason was the government didn’t take the CCP coronavirus seriously enough in the beginning, losing valuable time.
As a result, American manufacturers lacked the capacity to produce face masks on a scale needed to meet the demand of the American population once the pandemic set in. Many states are still short of face masks and other PPE.
The executive vice president of Prestige Ameritech, based in Texas, said: “I’ve got requests for maybe a billion and a half masks, if you add it up. That’s right — 1.5 billion. Normally, I don’t get any,“ he said in an interview, according to NPR. Prestige Ameritech is one of the few manufacturers of respirators and surgical face masks that is still making them in the United States.
The WHO’s Director-General has now underlined the importance of face masks for health workers, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Countries need to step up and do something to ensure a supply chain that can handle the need for face masks and other medical things needed to either ward off the CCP coronavirus or treat the symptoms of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the U.S. and the rest of the world relied on China to manufacture almost all the world’s PPE, which has led to the current disaster.
Face masks are an international scarcity
“Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real,” the WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions, and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding.”
According to QUARTZ online media, the circumstance that the U.S. fashion industry has to switch over to making medical masks shows that the health system is doing something wrong.
Currently, clothing companies all over the US are turning out face masks as fast as they can to make up for the critical shortage of face masks available to American medical workers.
Unfortunately, these face masks are allegedly made from regular cloth textiles like cotton. According to researchers, these types of cloth textiles offer little protection against infectious diseases, including the coronavirus.
The CDC, however, recommends that people wear “face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies).”
The reason being, that the virus has shown to be transmissible from person to person even if the transmitting person does not show any symptoms yet.
The CDC critically emphasizes that simple cloth face coverings should be used to slow the spread of the virus. Apparently, this will help prevent people who unknowingly have the virus from spreading it.
Furthermore, the CDC stated that the recommended “cloth face coverings” as they distinguish them are not the surgical masks or N-95 respirators.
The more efficient medical-grade face masks should continue to be reserved for people who work in the healthcare industry or for people like medical first responders.
Technology to ensure early detection
The Taiwanese government is using data technology to help medical professionals identify and find suspected patients and people of high risk.
Dr. Jason Wang, a public health policy expert at Stanford University in the U.S., underlined Taiwan’s use of technology to localize the whereabouts of those under quarantine. His paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“They can track people with their phone, which allows them to make sure all individuals who are supposed to go through the mandatory 14-day quarantine and are not violating the rules by sneaking out of their quarantine locations,” said Dr.Wang.
Support for those under quarantine
The Taiwanese government gave people more incentive to report their symptoms.
They have also shown a high degree of compassion by giving support to those individuals under quarantine.
The local village leaders bring basic supplies like food or books to individuals under quarantine.
Because most of the quarantines are not by choice, the Taiwanese authorities have also created a welfare program. The program gives individuals a US$30 allowance per day during the 2-week period of the quarantine.
Health experts believe this gives people more incentive to report their symptoms openly.
Taiwan debunks Chinese disinformation
During the time when the Taiwanese government was busy containing the COVID-19 outbreak, the island also experienced a rise of CCP coronavirus disinformation on popular social media platforms instigated by the CCP.
The Taiwan FactCheck Center is a nonprofit organization that focuses on debunking disinformation in Taiwan. The organization was quick to respond and inform the general public of these disinformation campaigns. The disinformation campaigns were mostly aimed at the Taiwanese government.
According to experts, the transparent communication between the government and civil society in Taiwan helps fend off disinformation campaigns and is an ongoing effort.
Medical research in Taiwan
Taiwan has also put a lot of money and effort into its bio-medical research. Over the last few months, Taiwan’s research teams have been working on a way to mass-produce a quick diagnostic test for COVID-19.
Last Sunday, they were successful, as a research team at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica was able to generate and test an antibody that can be used to identify the protein that is responsible for the coronavirus being able to transmit to humans.
Their goal is to produce a new “rapid test” for the CCP coronavirus that will allow the diagnosis to take less than 20 minutes in the future.
The willingness to help and share
Even though Beijing’s efforts to block Taiwan from joining the World Health Organization (WHO) are intensifying, public health experts like Wang say that Taiwan shows a great spirit of cooperation by sharing its experience in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak with other countries.
“Taiwan has been sharing their epidemic prevention strategies with other countries through teleconference, while helping countries that lack advanced medical capabilities to process samples from patients,” Wang said.
According to health experts like Wang, the “WHO needs Taiwan far more than Taiwan needs the WHO” in the struggle against the CCP coronavirus.
It appears that Taiwan has so few cases of COVID-19 because it handled the outbreak and the sharing of humanitarian aid with far greater care and transparency than China did, among other things.
- Taiwan took early action and learned from its past experiences with similar outbreaks like the SARS virus.
- Taiwan invested a considerable amount of time and money into the research, development, and deployment of early detection technology.
- The way Taiwan treats people under quarantine is very generous, by supporting them with supplies and aid, giving others the incentive to report their own cases much sooner.
- Taiwan debunks Chinese disinformation regularly. The scale of the outbreak in China and arguably in the world may be due to the misinformation and lack of information that China supplied its people.
- Due to past experience, medical research in Taiwan is very advanced.
- Willingness to help and share their breakthroughs and research with their people and other nations makes Taiwan a key global player in the game of containing, controlling, and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
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