COVID-19 in Taiwan
COVID-19 in Taiwan
National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
So far (updated at April 27th), there are 429 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6 dead after infection in Taiwan. The first identified case in Taiwan was a woman businessman who came back with fever from Wuhan. Subsequentially, the following 12 cases were confirmed who all lived or worked in Wuhan. At that time, the first local case appeared. Case 9 was infected by his wife who just came from Wuhan. These cases had common clinical signs of sickness for example: cough and fever. However, a 4-people family who had traveled to Italy and transferred at Hong Kong were infected. One of the family members didn’t show any clinical signs who was the first case without any signs. The occurrence of this case made the disease control more difficult and frightened the public. The local cases were mainly infected by their family members who just came from other countries like China, Italy, and America which were the countries with numerous cases afterward. Fortunately, there were no community spread in Taiwan.
Then COVID19 cases rose quickly as many Taiwanese people came back who lived, worked, or studied in other countries. These people had to be in quarantine at their home or certified hotel for 14 days. To date, 31 sailors were confirmed being infected by COVID-19 on a warship which sailed to our diplomatic allies – Palau in late February to carry out a task.
The epidemic has been ebbing in Taiwan so far. It has been continuous for 16 day that no local case emerges, thanks to the cooperation of Taiwanese people.
Movement Control Order
As the early outbreak of COVID-19 in January, Taiwan government prohibited face masks from being exported or sent to other countries to ensure enough face masks were available for the public. Meanwhile, news reported that lots of face masks were bought by tourists in Japan so that it was hard for the local to find one.
Since most face masks were produced and imported from China, the Taiwan government recruited and organized multiple ministries including the local factories to aim to produce face masks as many as possible for people in need. To date, 15 million face masks is produced every day. People can purchase 9 face masks every 2 weeks through pharmacy or APP.
For those who came back to Taiwan from other countries, they have to be in quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine has strict regulation that people will be fined if they go out. Quarantine can efficiently stop virus spreading from the patient without any sign.
The start of new semester was postponed for 2 weeks due to the unclear situation then. All the students were asked to take body temperature before entering any building. Besides, distance learning is encouraged in order to decrease social contact.
Passengers are asked to wear face masks when they take public transportation e.g. MRT and bus. If they are not willing to follow, they will be fined.
Effect on lifestyle
Due to efficient control of COVID-19, cities of Taiwan did not lock down compared to other countries. Taiwan government managed to minimize the impact brought by COVID-19. As a researcher in college, my research was slightly affected by COVID-19. Our cooperation with other research institutes in other countries was suspended due to the lockdown.
I wear face mask much often than before even indoor. Something did change my lifestyle for example: I didn’t hang out with my friends in crowded places or in confined space since the outbreak, and I tried to order takeaway meal instead of dining at restaurants. All the procedure is trying to maintain social distancing.
Taiwan once suffered from SARS-CoV, which caused 73 deaths and lockdown of HoPin hospital in 2003. Fears to the disease still remain among the public. It is not weird or embarrassing if you wear face mask on the street nowadays. I think wearing face masks greatly decrease the possibility of disease spread which protect ourselves and others. Taiwan has been isolated from World Health Organization for a long time. The outbreak of SARS-CoV in 2003 was due to insufficient information of the new disease. After that, we had more caution of the newly emerge diseases, so that Taiwan can act so quickly in response to COVID-19.