Taiwan reins in spread of coronavirus as other countries stumble

Experts say 'hard and bitter' lessons in dealing with SARS helped Taiwan quickly respond to deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Al Jazeera
Date: March 07, 2020
By: Erin Hale

Despite its close links to China, Taiwan has only recorded 45 cases and one death due to the coronavirus [File: Chiang Ying-ying/AP]

Taipei, Taiwan – With some 850,000 Taiwanese living and working in China, Taiwan could have been one of the hardest hit when the coronavirus outbreak emerged in late December in Wuhan, a central Chinese city of 11 million people and the epicentre of the outbreak.

The timing would prove devastating for China and the rest of the world, as the outbreak began to accelerate around Lunar New Year, a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel abroad or return home to see their families.

But Taiwan, an island democracy with a population roughly the size of Australia, has kept cases at a minimum of 45 and one death, even as infection rates in China have topped 80,000 and the virus has mushroomed in places like South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy.

Taiwan's success so far in handling the infection has largely been due to its action in the early stage of the contagion, according to experts, even when the virus was still poorly understood and its transmission rate still unclear.    [FULL  STORY]

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