Written by Kai-Ping Huang. To fight against Covid-19, there is only one solution for every country striving for a return to normality: vaccination. Herd immunity is the goal as advanced countries aim to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of their citizens. The discovery of different variants worldwide makes booster shots increasingly necessary to prevent severe symptoms even for the fully vaccinated. Although speed is vital, it is also essential to determine the proper order of vaccinations.
Written by Chunhuei Chi. For Taiwan to move toward the post-pandemic era, it must be understood that its main challenge is political rather than biological. Besides fighting disinformation and external and internal attempts to divide Taiwan and undermine its control effectiveness, it needs to consider the vaccines’ critical role in ending this pandemic. Further, the criticism of its government’s vaccine under-preparedness has shifted Taiwanese to inward-looking and toward vaccine nationalism.
Written by Brian Hioe. Vaccines have proved a contentious issue in Taiwan from the beginning. As the first vaccines that arrived in Taiwan were AstraZeneca vaccines, the Taiwanese public was initially unwilling to get vaccinated. The public was discouraged from being vaccinated by reports of blood clots and other adverse reactions after using AstraZeneca. As Taiwan had gone for more than a year mostly COVID-free, it is probable that members of the public did not see the need to get vaccinated.
Written by Chih-chien Lin. Mark Twain once said ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’ On December 31st, 2019, the WHO office in Beijing reported unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. On February 23rd, 2020, right before Chinese New Year, governments enforced large-scale traffic control (aka lockdown) in Wuhan. On February 27th, the Central Epidemic Command Centre in Taiwan gave its highest alert. It was a serious warning about the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Paulina G. Karimova and Kuang-Chung Lee. Discussion of resilience and adaptive capacity of Taiwan’s scenic rural areas has never been more pertinent than at the times of COVID-19. Over 2020-2021, these two seemingly academic terms have promptly secured their spot in local vocabulary (as 韌性 and 調適能力) and became an intrinsic part of hands-on local solutions.
Written by Viola van Onselen. Tourism can significantly burden the natural environment, such as developing hotels or campsites in fragile ecosystems, pollution, or noise disturbance. The fact that tourism leads to environmental degradation has led to sustainable or eco-tourism, a concept that aims to minimise the impact on the natural environment and maintain tourism over a long period in one area while educating tourists and benefitting the social, economic and natural environment.
Written by Ming-sho Ho. Sitting right at the fracture zone between Eurasian Plate and Philippine Sea Plate, Taiwan is an outgrowth of their incessant continental collision, thus making this island mountainous and ecologically rich. The Japanese archipelago shares a similar geological location. Still, Taiwan has ten times more peaks over 3,000 meters above sea level (268) than Japan, although the land size is only the latter’s one-tenth. From the tropical fluvial plain, one can drive through the temperate-zone mountain and reach the highest point of Taiwan’s highway (3,275 meters) in few hours, where flora and fauna are analogous to that in the frigid zone. Yet, until recently, most of the island residents did not have the opportunity to enjoy this natural heritage.
Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. For much of the past eighteen months, the world has been under siege from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, when the novel virus was first reported, the scourge has claimed more than four million lives and 189 million confirmed cases around the globe. In the Covid-19 saga spanning continents, damaging economies, and taking lives, Taiwan stood out as a poster child of success in preventing large outbreaks and keeping its economy growing at the same time.
Written by Chih-Wei Chen. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deficiencies of current systems in human society. As an echo of the 74th World Health Assembly, people, governments and organisations must reflect on current systems and devote themselves to shaping more robust systems. Digital technologies provided new possibilities to address the issue. However, digital technologies bring not only opportunities but also challenges and risks. Hence, how to meaningfully employ digital technologies becomes necessary for pandemic prevention and is the key to further implement UN SDGs. Taiwan’s experience in COVID-19 prevention has provided some insights into the meaningful employment of digital technologies meanwhile addressing the challenges.
Written by Mark Wenyi Lai. Because of Taiwan’s COVID-19 pandemic control policies, the ruling and opposition parties agree on a national partial lockdown and vaccine distribution. However, they disagree on vaccine purchase and testing policy. This essay argued that there is more consensus than discord and the reason rested on Taiwan’s unique political-economic status. Here are their debates.
Written by Denis Simon. In early 2021, Taiwan’s health care system was ranked number one globally for the third year in a row by NUMBEO’s Annual Online Survey. Its overall performance buoyed the island’s ability to consistently earn such a high ranking during the first 12-14 months of the Covid-19 global pandemic beginning in 2020. Taiwan officials initially were able to ward off any significant damage from the pandemic by pursuing a highly aggressive strategy to keep the virus at bay. While other international rankings, such as the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, do not rank Taiwan as number one in its rating system, there is consensus across the board internationally that the government has proven itself highly effective at managing its single-payer health care system, mainly due to its innovative approach to digital health records.
Written by Lotta Danielsson. For the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan served as a brilliant example of how best to handle the crisis. Leaning on its experiences during the 2003 SARS epidemic, Taiwan received glowing reviews for its protective measures. Stories about long stays in quarantine hotels and the vigilant surveillance of arriving travellers spread widely online. Donations of high-quality protective gear served as public relations opportunities, culminating with “Made in Taiwan” facemasks worn at the White House. Photos from a crowded live concert in Taipei elicited envy from those still in semi-lockdown elsewhere.