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Taiwan’s Audacity Against Covid-19

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Taiwan has recorded 757 cases of Covid-19 infections, of which 657 are imported cases of travelers who are detected upon arrival in the country. A total of 7 people have lost their lives due to the pandemic on the island.

Taiwan has been one of the countries that has best managed the pandemic. It has done so because geographic conditions made it difficult for infected travelers to arrive, as is the case with New Zealand. In addition, the authorities took action in time and the political circumstances with Beijing have allowed Taiwan’s response to be more effective by not having China as a reference even in the development of vaccines.

In 2003, Taiwan’s health authorities had to fight without international support against the virus that also originated in China, SARS, a type of influenza that had at least 8,000 probable cases worldwide and 774 deaths.

Taiwan’s performance in containing SARS in 2003 allowed it to develop protocols, technology, and expertise that have been fundamental to the successful decisions that Taipei authorities have made to contain Covid-19.

On the other hand, the collaboration of citizens has been key to the effective response of health authorities in the implementation of measures to contain SARS and Covid-19, without the need to restrict freedom or hit the economy.

Why Taiwan has only 800 cases and 7 deaths from Covid-19?

On December 31, 2019, the Taiwanese Center for Disease Control (CDC) learned from online sources of “at least 7 cases of atypical pneumonia in Wuhan, China.” Taiwanese authorities are unsuccessfully attempting to contact the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the situation mentioned on the Internet.

In turn, the CDC sent an email to the WHO, informing them of its “understanding of the disease and requesting further information.” However, as of December 2020, the WHO has not responded.

Since December 31, 2019, Taiwan implemented protocols to identify travelers with unusual symptoms. On January 8, 2020, the first international patient with Covid-19 was registered in Thailand, an individual traveling from China, authorities reported.

While the WHO, on January 10, recommended “not to impose travel restrictions” and later on January 14 announced that there was not enough evidence that the virus was transmitted from person to person, the Taiwanese authorities restricted flights from Hubei Province and prohibited the visit of Chinese citizens from Wuhan to Taiwan.

Since early March, foreign tourists have not been allowed to visit Taiwan, but international trade has been growing in the midst of the crisis.

Despite having closed the free movement of international flights, Taiwan has not imposed lockdowns or mobility restrictions on citizens. The development of technology and data studies has been fundamental in detecting and preventing the virus on the island. In addition to providing transparent information to citizens, the press and the international community.

The United States has been the country that has supported Taiwan’s management of the pandemic the most. Since March, agreements have been signed for cooperation in data transmission, vaccine development and anti-virus drugs.

El Ministro de Salud de los Estados Unidos, Alex Azar, pronuncia su discurso en el Colegio de Salud Pública de la Universidad Nacional de Taiwán durante su visita a Taipei. Azar es el funcionario estadounidense de más alto nivel que visita Taiwán desde que Washington cortó las relaciones diplomáticas con Taipei en 1979. (Efe)
U.S. Health Minister Alex Azar delivers his speech at the National Taiwan University College of Public Health during his visit to Taipei. Azar is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979. (Efe)

Taiwan’s model has been an example to contain the pandemic in New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and other countries. However, pressure from China on the international community has prevented countries from coordinating any assistance with Taipei.

Taiwan was not invited to the WHO World Health Assembly and comments on the country at the six-day virtual meeting were censored. The WHO also refused to share relevant information about the virus and has avoided answering press questions about the case.

Researching the origins of COVID-19 without the key witnesses

China has prevented a thorough investigation into the origin of the pandemic. The propaganda of the Chinese government in local media insists that the origin of covid-19 is not in Chinese territory.

The constant news about traces of the virus in frozen goods coming from the West serves the government to reaffirm this position. In addition, Beijing has provided limited and delayed information about the virus, which appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province in southern China.

One year after the beginning of the pandemic that in December 2020 has left more than 1.6 million deaths, the Chinese regime gave the green light for WHO researchers to travel to Chinese territory to investigate the origin of the virus.

WHO researchers will travel to China in early January to meet with local researchers and try to find an answer to the origins of the virus. However, the doctors who alerted the existence of the virus will be absent.

El Dr. Li Wenliang, denunciante chino que sonó la alarma sobre el coronavirus pero fue reprendido por el regimen comunista chino. Santuario improvisado en las afueras del Hospital Central de Wuhan en Wuhan, Provincia de Hubei, China. (Efe)
Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese whistleblower who sounded the alarm about the coronavirus but was reprimanded by the Chinese communist regime. Improvised sanctuary outside the Wuhan Central Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. (Efe)

Li Wenliang will be absent. He was the first doctor who, through text messages, warned about the symptoms presented by numerous patients, because when he identified the pandemic, he was punished by the Chinese regime for disloyalty and because, according to the regime, he lied about the events, causing a social disorder.

China failed to manage the pandemic with the complicity of the World Health Organization, sacrificing the best opportunity to unravel the origins of the virus, according to The New York Times.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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