Written by Chia-Shuo Tang. This article is a story about Taiwan’s multi-million US dollars health aid in an African country and its aftermath. It involves two hospitals, some doctors, several aid agencies, and a global pandemic intersecting at the dawn of the 21st century. In addition, this story is about how a Taiwanese hospital turned a bilateral medical aid mission into a non-governmental endeavour after severing diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Resilience, State Capacity and Public Trust in Combating Pandemics, Case of Taiwan (Part I)
Written by Chun-Yi Lee. When it comes to combating pandemics, the public’s trust is crucial to the government’s response. The experience of COVID-19 demonstrates how well a government led its citizens through the pandemic depends on how citizens trust and comply with government regulations. As a result, COVID-19 has challenged not only health management but also governance issues more generally. As Fukuyama indicated, the Covid-19 pandemic was like ‘a bright light shone on existing institutions everywhere’ – the way a government and society reacted to the pandemic exposed the strengths and/or inadequacies within the existing institutions.
Bridging Islands of/beyond Borders: Dongyin and Yonaguni
Written by Yi-Yu Lai. While the COVID-19 has stopped many individuals from travelling and interacting over the last two years, some cultural exchanges that we never expected to see have emerged during the pandemic. For example, on February 18th, 2022, people in Dongyin, an insular township in Taiwan’s Matsu Islands, had their first online workshop with those from Yonaguni, an island that belongs to Okinawa. Both islands are considered frontiers in their respective countries, and they had many comparable fates throughout history. Therefore, such a cultural exchange between the islands was particularly impressive because it was an activity with the islands as the focal point.
How did Malaysia and Taiwan respond to Covid-19? Part II: Pandemic’s Impact on Economy
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Our earlier article described how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health systems. We identified common themes from both countries’ responses to the pandemic and acknowledged the importance of public sector capacities and capabilities in shaping and steering them. This second part of the article will describe how governments in Malaysia and Taiwan have responded to the challenges of the pandemic in their economic sector.
How did Malaysia and Taiwan respond to Covid-19? Part I: Healthcare Infrastructure
Written by K. Thiruchelvam. Why have some countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic more decisively than others? How have seemingly under-resourced countries performed better—in terms of the number of cases and fatalities—than their richer counterparts? These and other vexing questions have continued to confound many of us as we enter the third year of a pandemic that has brought governments all over the world to their knees.
Doing It Together: A Successful Story of Taiwan’s Face Mask Team
Written by Frank Siedlok, Natasha Hamilton-Hart, Hsiao-Chen Shen. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the related news spread for the last two years, the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment became apparent, causing policymakers globally to panic. Having learned from SARS in 2003, Taiwan foresaw the need to address the demand for facemasks.
Policy or Circumstance?: Covid Impacts and Probable Political Economy Outcomes
Written by Ian Inkster. When attempting a summary prediction of Taiwan’s political economy in January of 2019, I admitted that even annual forecasting can look very foolish, especially during the decline in democratic systems perceived at that time and the importance of complex external commercial relations to the country’s growth and welfare. The forecaster turns idiot with awful speed. I asked to be forgiven during the gentle days of Chinese New Year! Like everyone, I did not predict the coming Covid 19.
Covid-19 and the Environmental Impacts of Domestic Tourism
Written by Tzu-Ming Liu. The outbreak of COVID-19 has significantly affected Taiwanese’ travel destination choices. One of the most significant changes is the recent boom of citizens’ participation in nature-based outdoor recreation. These changes have clear influences on the environment. Some are positive, and some are negative. This impact can be observed in Taroko National Park and Yushan National Park. However, for destinations that have been heavily impacted by tourism, such as Lanyu, the sudden tourist increase makes environmental problems much worse.
COVID-19 Ushered in a New Era of Urban Governance in Taiwan
Written by Roman Shemakov. As the metabolic flow of a city is commandeered by a virus, urban sensing is amplified. The proximity of animals, people, and capital in markets is one of the foundational functions of city life. Random evolutions of ingenuity, community, and viruses thus become a natural by-product of urban proximity. Since the invention of every technology (and a city is certainly a technological mechanism) is also an invention of a new accident, we must think of viruses as a feature of cities, not an anomaly.
To Ensure Vaccine Equity, Taiwan Should Adjust its Vaccination Program
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.
Taiwan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Against Biological and Political Viruses
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.
Political Contention About Vaccines in Taiwan
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.