As the world battles rising covid-19 cases, with some experiencing second waves of the infection, here’s a country that has significantly managed to achieve a milestone that every other country is surely envying.
Taiwan – an island country along with east Asia, has successfully gone 200 days straight without recording a single local covid-19 case. Considered to have had one of the best covid-19 responses in the world, the country of 23 million people saw its last local case of the virus only on April 12, which happened to be Easter Sunday.
From that day onwards to today, Taiwan has marked itself as a record, and the success of this achievement goes to a tireless and well organized network that worked effectively to contain the spread of the virus.
Here’s How Taiwan Did It:
Taiwan’s landmark comes at a time when European countries such as France and Germany are facing second waves of the coronavirus infection, with new lockdown measures being put in place to contain the spread. The United States, too, has been witnessing massive surges, with over 80,000 new cases a day.
Taiwan, on the other hand, had a total of 553 confirmed covid-19 cases and seven deaths.
The country has never really had to enact strict lockdown rules and restrictions to keep the virus spread contained. What it actually did was focus on speed. The authorities began checking passengers coming into the country early on, as early as December 31, 2019. It detected its first case on January 21 this year, and then, banned residents of Wuhan to enter the country, much earlier than Wuhan itself declaring a lockdown.
Apart from diplomats and residents, Taiwan banned all foreign arrivals into the island country. It did, however, allow certain special entry visas.
Being an island country was, in fact, the major advantage Taiwan enjoyed, as it could easily keep a tab on the entry and exit through its borders. Its geographic location, coupled with its great experience of battling the SARS outbreak in 2003, enabled authorities to be prompt at working an effective approach to containing the covid-19 spread.
For the SARS outbreak, the country had worked up to build an effective system to deal with a pandemic, and the same was utilized here for the coronavirus pandemic.
After hearing about the safety measures, the country immediately ramped up PPE and face mask productions, so as to make supplies available in case international supplies through air or sea are affected, especially considering its geographical location.
With an investment in mass testing and a well-coordinated contact tracing, a lockdown wasn’t an ideal option for the country’s government. For every positive case, the country nearly traced 20-30 contacts, and in extreme cases, nearly 150 contacts were traced for one confirmed positive person.
With this, ‘community transmission has been eliminated in the country’ and Taiwan now holds the ‘best results around the world’, said Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician at the Australian National University of Medical School.
This fight against the virus isn’t the end, as the country reported three more new cases of imported cases.
A lesson for many countries to take away from Taiwan’s success story is the same rule that has been emphasized since day one of the pandemics. An effective testing mechanism, followed with a strong and well-placed contact tracing, and subsequent quarantining, can help a country fight the virus in the best way possible.