Date: July 10, 2020
Opinion by: Lanhee Chen
A society of about 24 million people, Taiwan has had only 449 confirmed cases of Covid-19 — and seven deaths. These numbers are remarkable given that Taiwan is less than 100 miles off the coast of mainland China, where the outbreak initially began. The two sides maintain strong commercial and cultural ties, though relations have grown frosty since the election of Taiwan's current president in 2016.
Taiwan has exported both its expertise and its medical supplies around the world. For world leaders looking to emulate Taiwan's strategy, four factors are key to understanding why it has been successful in the fight against Covid-19.
First, the geopolitical fight between Taiwan and the mainland, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), which considers the self-governing island a part of its territory, has fueled Taiwanese skepticism of Beijing's claims. Thus, when news of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan initially broke in December 2019, Taiwan did not rely on official Chinese pronouncements that the virus could be controlled and that it could not be transmitted between humans. Instead, it immediately started screening passengers on inbound flights from Wuhan, and moved quickly to identify and isolate any travelers who exhibited symptoms of Covid-19. [FULL STORY]