The Covid-19 pandemic poses a major challenge for all countries around the world, and has put enormous pressure on the health and organisational systems of even the most developed Western and Asian economies. While maintaining certain standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), measures to contain the pandemic vary widely from country to country, as do prevention initiatives to avoid or mitigate the effects of new waves of the pandemic. Some of the countries that have best responded to the Coronavirus pandemic are Vietnam, Taiwan, Iceland, New Zealand and Singapore, all of which launched rapid emergency plans and effective containment and tracking protocols that rely on new technologies.
Taiwan also responded swiftly to the Coronavirus pandemic and, like Vietnam, has recorded a low number of cases and deaths (just over 600 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and seven deaths as of 24th November 2020). Taiwan responded faster than other, more developed, Asian countries such as Japan. Experts say that the early closure of borders and strict travel regulations have contributed significantly to curbing the spread of the Coronavirus. Other factors include rigorous contact tracing, the use of technology to monitor cases and quarantine regulations and the widespread use of facemasks. The effectiveness of Taiwan’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was also boosted by the country’s clear view onto the epidemiological situation in China, allowing for prompt action and the implementation of a containment strategy that has proven to be one of the most successful in the world. The island has used technology to track down suspected cases of Coronavirus and continues to do so today: all positive citizens are provided with a taxi and a hotel room for the quarantine. Taiwan has also maintained a stockpile of facemasks, a sufficient number of doctors and adequate laboratory capacity to handle a possible second wave. Like Vietnam and other Asian countries, Taiwan has also based much of its response on the experience of the SARS pandemic in 2003 which had a major impact on the country, ranking third in the world in terms of cases and deaths – 346 total infections and 73 deaths – with a fatality rate of 21.1%. Following the experience of 2003, Taiwan strengthened its preparations for the next epidemic, creating an infectious disease prevention network and annual drills in hospitals.
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