How Taiwan Used Big Data, Transparency and a Central Command to Protect Its People from Coronavirus

Written by Beth Duff-Brown. Within the last five weeks the Taiwan epidemic command center rapidly implemented those 124 action items, including border control from the air and sea, case identification using new data and technology, quarantine of suspicious cases, educating the public while fighting misinformation, negotiating with other countries — and formulating policies for schools and businesses to follow.

A Political Gamble: Taiwan’s Kinmen Island and the Decision of Supporting the Central Government’s Coronavirus Prevention Measures

Written by Shun-Te Wang. As Chinese influence infiltrates everyday life in Kinmen, local politicians still find it challenging to predict local opinion over border control issues. In early February 2020, 6 kilometres away from China, a dissatisfaction toward the government’s Coronavirus prevention measures became prominent on the Kinmen island. The island’s public demand that Taiwanese central government, which is 300 kilometres away from Kinmen, to suspend the “Three Links” to prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from entering.

A State-based World Health Organisation: The Taiwan Paradox for Global Pandemic Governance

Written by Po-Han Lee. Due to the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), Taiwan—which is greatly affected because of its intensive communication with China—has come under the international spotlight, because of its exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the largest institution responsible for disease control. Drawing on the rules/practices regarding the WHO-related meetings, this essay discusses why it is so difficult for the Taiwanese to be heard by the WHO, let alone for them to be present at relevant forums.

Disease in the Digital Era – is Taiwan in the midst of an “infodemic”?

Written by Sam Robbins. The coronavirus has become a hot topic of conversation on Taiwan’s popular social networking site, D-cart. This has become a space for (primarily university students) to share or ask for relevant information about the disease, but also to share their fears and difficulties that have resulted from the virus. A recurring theme on the discussion board are stories from international students—for example, from Hong Kong—who are not sure of their ability to return to study in Taiwan.

Reaching out to Undocumented Workers: The Best Way to Contain COVID-19 Outbreak

Written by Hong-zen Wang, Pei-chia Lan, Yen-fen Tseng, Chia-ling Wu, Chiung-chih Chen. On 26th February 2020, Taiwan Centre for Disease Control (CDC) announced that there had been 32 confirmed cases of infection in Taiwan. Case #32 was unknowingly infected when she was employed as the caregiver for Case #27 during the latter’s hospitalisation. After the CDC disclosed her identity as an ‘illegal’ Indonesian migrant worker, public fears surged; consequently, several county governments announced that they would tighten the measures and crackdown on undocumented workers.

Can Migrant Workers Purchase Face Masks with Their Photo IDs?

Written by Ying-da Wong. The government seemed to take it for granted that all citizens and foreign residents are issued with an NHI Card, and that their NHI Card is valid. As a matter of fact, as detailed below, there is a wide gap between this presumption and reality. This gap may affect people’s rights or adversely curtail the effectiveness of disease prevention. So, before I move on, a fundamental question must be asked: are migrant workers entitled to the NHI, and are they issued with an NHI Card?

How is Taiwan Facing the Coronavirus?

Written by Josie-Marie Perkuhn. As a precaution, most flights have been suspended, and entry spots have restricted access, such as maritime passages via Kinmen, Matsu or Penghu Island. President Tsai also assured that “as long as the two sides fully communicate and cooperate, I do believe that we will be able to take good care of our people”. However, controversy arose when on February 3rd evacuees arrived. Three of the 247 people on the charter flight had not been on the priority list, which Taiwan provided to China, and one was tested positive, becoming the 11th patient in Taiwan to be diagnosed.

Taiwan’s Response to the Coronavirus Challenge of 2020

Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Taiwan government’s most favoured policy for fighting Covid-19 initially is to prevent it from entering Taiwan in the first place, according to Ming-Liang Lee, former health minister, “Czar of SARS” — commander-in-chief in the debacle against Taiwan’s 2003 SARS epidemic, and now a senior adviser to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. To this end, Taiwan implemented strict travel advisories and entry protocols tiered by the risk level of the countries in question.

Taiwan’s participation in the WHO in the outbreak of the coronavirus: the Old Global Health vs. the new

Written by Kai-yuan Cheng. Perhaps most fundamentally, Taiwan needs to make young Taiwanese believe that, despite our sad past and difficult present, going into global health as a Taiwanese is a promising career filled with opportunities and excitement. Building a global health-informed civil society will appeal to the new generation of governance bodies whose more flexible frameworks are ready to engage Taiwan, not necessarily because of the globalist ideal of leaving no one behind or the humanitarian concern for the Taiwanese population health, but because we have something to offer.

Sustainable Universal Health Coverage: Lessons from Taiwan’s Single-Payer National Health Insurance – A Tribute to Uwe Reinhardt

Written by Tsung-Mai Cheng. 1 March 2020 will mark the 25th anniversary of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI), a government-run single-payer health care system that covers the health care needs of Taiwan’s 23.5 million citizens and approximately 800,000 foreign residents. Before the NHI’s Implementation in 1995, 41% of Taiwan’s population had no health insurance coverage. Access to health care depended on the ability to pay for it, which often led to bankruptcy and impoverishment; or at its worst, meant no care.

Health Care for All Humanity? The Case of the World Health Organisation and Taiwan

Written by Najee Woods (葉正忠). 23.5 million Taiwanese citizens have been neglected by WHO since being expelled from the United Nations in the early 1970s. Since the late 1990s, Taiwan has attempted on numerous occasions to gain observer status within WHO, but requests were not considered in the WHA agenda. Taiwan does not have the same privileges that other WHO member-states enjoy, such as access to information on the latest outbreaks and epidemics. The lack of access to WHO databases detrimentally affects the Taiwanese population and further creates a blind spot for potential diseases to spread throughout the entire global network. 

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