March 11, 2020


How has Taiwan kept its coronavirus infection rate so low? (Deutsche-Welle, 3/10/20)

Dr. Jason Wang, a public health policy expert at Stanford University in the US, said that Taiwan recognized the potential scale of the crisis early, and was able to stay ahead of the outbreak. [...]

Wang said that the introduction of public health laws gave the Taiwanese government additional power to allocate resources.

"The Taiwanese government integrated data from national health insurance with immigration and customs data," Wang said. "This has allowed frontline medical personnel to identify suspected patients after examining their travel histories."

The Taiwanese government also developed a program that has allowed people to report travel histories and symptoms of illness by scanning a QR code when they arrive in Taiwan.

Travelers then receive a text message with their health status, allowing customs officers to skip low risk passengers and focus on passengers with a high COVID-19 infection risk.

"There are a lot of things that the Taiwanese government was able to do with new technology, and these practices allow them to triage people properly and follow up with appropriate care," Wang said.

The public's willingness to follow government regulations has also helped Taiwanese officials respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Most Taiwanese experienced hardship and interruption during the SARS epidemic, so the memory is still fresh. It helps to foster a sense of community," said Dr. Chunhuei Chi, a public health professor at the Oregon State University in the US.

"They know that they are in this together and that makes them willing to comply with the measures rolled out by the government."

Posted by at March 11, 2020 12:57 PM


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