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  • Taiwan Has Less Than 400 COVID-19 Cases. How They Did It, According To Their President

    The president notes it's all thanks to the medical professionals, government, and citizens.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • As numbers of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continue to rise in various parts of the world, Taiwan has been able to keep their numbers down to 395 cases and with only six deaths. For the second time this week, there were no new cases of the virus to report, according to Taiwan News. By contrast, the Philippines has recorded 5,878 cases and 387 deaths. (To get the latest stats, click here for our COVID-19 case tracker.)

    The Guardian reports that Taiwan's low numbers “can be attributed to the use of technology, a central command center, its single payer healthcare system, and swift decision making.” Indeed, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-Wen has been praised all over for her stellar governance.

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    How Taiwan is flattening the curve

    In a piece that she wrote for Time magazine, President Tsai shares that because of painful lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003, their government and their people were put on high alert from the beginning. If we were to take note of their successes, here are some of the lessons we should be looking at:

    1. They began monitoring incoming Wuhan passengers as early as December 2019 and introduced travel restrictions come January.

    The first case of the novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 was reported as early as December 24 in Wuhan, China. According to President Tsai, “when indications of a contagious new respiratory illness began to appear in China,” the government began monitoring incoming passengers from Wuhan. By January, they had established the Central Epidemic Command Center that would handle prevention measures. They also introduced travel restrictions and set quarantine protocols for high-risk travelers.

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    2. They employ strict contact tracing measures.

    The first confirmed case was discovered in Taiwan on January 21. President Tsai that they “undertook rigorous investigative efforts to track travel and contact history for every patient.” The result was that they were able to isolate and contain all infected individuals before a mass community outbreak could happen.

    3. The Taiwanese people followed the government.

    According to President Tsai, her constituents did their part in containing the virus. “Private businesses, franchises, and apartment communities have initiated body-temperature monitoring and disinfection steps” which greatly helped the government’s efforts in curbing the virus in public places. Taiwan, like South Korea, is one of the few places affected by COVID-19 that did not have to resort to a lockdown despite its close proximity to mainland China.

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    4. They distributed medical-grade masks to the community.

    Predicting that mass panic buying would occur because of the virus, the Taiwanese government “took over the production and distribution of medical-grade masks.” They multiplied production capacity and made the masks affordable to both hospitals and the general public.

    According to The Guardian, they also banned exports of surgical masks. “Supported by technology experts, pharmacies and convenience stores, we devised a system for distributing rationed masks,” President Tsai writes. Despite the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) experienced by the world, Taiwan is able to donate supplies to “seriously affected countries” like the Philippines.

    5. They did not forget the children.

    On April 13, news outlets reported that health officials in Taiwan wore pink masks at a press conference to show young boys that the color is not just for girls. According to Taiwan News, many boys were refusing to wear the pink masks that were being rationed to families because of peer pressure.

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    Some would have dismissed this as a minor issue, but perhaps knowing that the boys would be putting themselves and others at risk for infection if they refuse to wear the masks, their health ministry deemed it necessary to make the statement and break gender stereotypes at the same time.

    “It’s fine for a man to wear pink,” Taiwan’s Health Minister, Chen Shih-Chung said in the press conference. “Pink is for everyone!”

    What are other countries doing to flatten the curve? Click here to see how the lockdowns in China and Italy are like and here for how South Korea is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

    For the latest news and updates on COVID-19, check out reportr.world/covid-19.

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