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Taiwan president ranked in Bloomberg 50 for crushing Covid

Bloomberg describes Tsai Ing-wen as 'Taiwan's Covid Crusher'

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. 

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been included in this year's Bloomberg 50 for "crushing" the coronavirus outbreak in Taiwan.

On Friday (Dec. 4), Bloomberg released its annual list of what it considers the 50 most influential people of the year who have "the ability to move markets or shape ideas and policies" in the areas of business, finance, technology, environmental protection, politics, and entertainment. The list was based on recommendations and assessments by Bloomberg journalists at 150 bureaus in the U.S. and globally.

Described as "Taiwan's Covid Crusher," the news site lists Tsai at 49th spot on the list. In its explanation for Tsai's inclusion on the list, it started with Tsai's status as the country's first female president and her impressive re-election on Jan. 11.

It pointed out that even before the election was held, Taiwan was already making preparations to fend off a new atypical pneumonia that was coming out of China. This was due to Taiwan having learned its lesson from SARS.

Even though the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) failed to clarify whether human-to-human transmission was occurring in Wuhan on Dec. 31, the Taiwan government went ahead and launched enhanced border control and quarantine measures "based on the assumption that human-to-human transmission was in fact occurring," according to the CDC. On Jan. 20, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) was activated, with Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) at the helm.

The CECC then swiftly implemented travel bans, mandatory quarantines, strict quarantine enforcement, ramped up mask production, contact tracing, and targeted testing. The article noted that those who are caught violating the 14-day quarantine, which is monitored via cell phone location data, face an onerous fine of up to NT$1 million (US$35,000).

These steps taken by the CECC for almost a year now have been key in eliminating local coronavirus infections in Taiwan for 236 days and counting, while only seven have perished from the disease and the country has seen a mere 686 cases, most of which are imported. Such as been the success of Taiwan's suppression of the outbreak, that Taiwan is the only major economy in the world to post positive economic growth, with the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) last week projecting the country's GDP grew by 2.54 percent in 2020.

Bloomberg warned Tsai to "remain vigilant," citing other countries such as Singapore and Japan which had apparently handled the outbreak well initially but later saw dramatic surges in cases. The CECC is well aware of this risk and on Dec. 1 implemented a series of strict new measures to prevent the spread of the virus during fall and winter.

Updated : 2022-05-27 20:13 GMT+08:00