Taiwan’s aggressive efforts paying off in fight against coronavirus: PBS

Taiwan controls COVID-19 outbreak with strict policies despite proximity to China

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Taiwan's handling of COVID-19 draws international attention

Taiwan's handling of COVID-19 draws international attention (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S.'s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) published a video to its website on Wednesday (April 1) explaining how Taiwan's precautions since the early stages of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak saved it from being one of the most gravely affected countries.

The video followed Anna Lee, a Taiwanese who flew back home from the U.K. as the outbreak of the coronavirus spread in Britain. "If [Prime Minister Boris Johnson] is not even helping his own citizens, why would he help a foreigner like me?" She asked.

Upon arriving in Taiwan, Lee was immediately required to test for the coronavirus and file her information at the airport, including whether she had experienced any virus symptoms. All the data was uploaded to the central system of Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for further tracking.

Before Lee could leave the airport, she had to make sure she was registered in the CDC online database and could successfully receive the text messages from the CDC — this is how the Taiwanese government makes sure everyone carries out their 14-day home quarantine. Lee then rode a special government-provided taxi home, as she was not allowed to take any public transportation.

All these measures have so far successfully contained the coronavirus outbreak in Taiwan, even though the island nation lies just off China's southeastern shore and was predicted to have the second-highest number of confirmed cases by Johns Hopkins University, PBS reported.

"We sent two doctors to Wuhan from the Taiwan CDC once we picked up some signals of a strange outbreak there on social media," Steve Kuo (郭旭崧), former head of Taiwan CDC, stated, as he explained to PBS why Taiwan was able to prepare itself more efficiently than other countries. On January 20, Taiwan set up the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to prevent the highly transmissible virus from devastating the island country.

As of April 2, Taiwan has 339 confirmed cases, and the government has pledged to donate 10 million surgical masks to other countries affected by the coronavirus, including 2 million masks to the U.S., in addition to the weekly 100,000-mask donation promised by Taiwan earlier.