Written by T.Y. Wang and Ching-Hsin Yu. The worsening prospect of the pandemic has led to two dozen state governments taking drastic measures by ordering all residents to stay in their homes, restricting the movement of more than 200 million Americans. As a result, schools are shut down, restaurants are closed, and the airlines have dramatically reduced their scheduled flights. The American economy has ground to a halt with a record 3.3 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits. In contrast, several thousands of miles away, Taiwan has been able to keep the number of coronavirus infections relatively low.
Written by Abby Huang. Since COVID-19 began spreading across Europe in February, the name “Taiwan” leapt on to the mastheads of major news organizations. One after another, international press published reports on Taiwan’s disease prevention measures and compared them with those of their own countries.
Written by Ming-yeh T. Rawnsley. When the International Journal of Taiwan Studies (IJTS) 3.1 published a topical section on ‘Taiwan, Public Diplomacy, and the World Health Assembly (WHA)’ in February/March 2020, we could hardly have participated that the world would soon be managing an epidemiological crisis on a scale not seen since the threat of Spanish Flu in 1918.
Written by Najee J Woods. Twitter has been instrumental for Taiwan digging out of the tunnels of diplomatic isolation. Twitter has become the equivalent to an online megaphone for the international community to hear what the Taiwanese people have to express. Political parties, news organisations and influential Taiwanese politicians are now on twitter, which gives the world community a glimpse of the different viewpoints that make up Taiwanese society. Formosa is no longer the forgotten orphan, as President Tsai and her team have successfully tweeted Taiwan back into the global community where it belongs.
Written by Shu-Hua Shih. Only a narrow strait lies between Taiwan and China, and cultural and economic interactions between the two are unceasing and abundant. On these grounds, many across the globe assumed that Taiwan would be the place outside China that is most seriously impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Written by Yao-Hung Huang. The tragedy that is the spread of the COVID 19 virus has dominated headlines around the world. While in Taiwan it has been a cause of considerable consternation, it has at the same time incited controversy about Taiwan’s relationship with the Chinese mainland.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.