Taiwan's success in fighting coronavirus a lesson for China and the world but WHO fails to take note
Taiwan has very strategically and aggressively fought the coronavirus pandemic. However, China's influence on the WHO prevents it from being included completely in the fight
As the UK, US, Italy, and many other countries outside China struggle to control the coronavirus pandemic from claiming more lives within its borders, many are taking note of Taiwan’s successes. Policy experts and officials say this can be attributed to the use of technology, a central command center, its single-payer healthcare system and most importantly, swift decision making.
Taiwan has very strategically and aggressively fought the coronavirus pandemic. Since the first case in January 2020, the Taiwanese government started screening the international arrivals and traced the infected. They have used phone tracking for mandatory quarantine. They kept track of the international arrivals and regularly checked on the travelers who were quarantined. The existing neighborhood warden system facilitated the enforcement of the quarantines and helped deliver meals and other assistance to those who needed it.
Taiwan’s government was also quick to implement border controls and it was one of the first to ban exports of surgical masks. They restricted the entries to those who visited China or Hong Kong during the previous 14 days.
They heavily relied on preparedness, technology, and transparency to tackle and prevent the widespread of the virus. There are reportedly over 339 positive cases and 5 deaths according to the John Hopkins map for coronavirus updates. In an attempt to control the further spread of the virus, the Taiwanese government introduced harsh penalties for those who broke the home quarantine law by finning up $53,000.
Taiwan has pledged to donate 10 million masks and medical supplies to the countries that have been most severely impacted by the coronavirus, under the campaign, ‘Taiwan can help’. Taiwan wants to build international recognition to show that Taiwanese can help the world.
Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has unleashed its reign of terror on the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not been sharing the information about the official data and prevention method provided to them by the Taiwan Foreign Ministry to the international body's member states since they are not officially a part of WHO.
In 1971, Taiwan was voted out of the United Nations (UN) in favor of China and from the WHO as well since membership is only open to the members of the UN. China claimed that Taiwan province came under China itself regardless of the fact that they are considered to be different. This caused the vote out of Taiwan from the UN.
Taiwan and China have always been at each other’s necks since 1949 after the Republic of China (ROC) decided to independently run Taiwan as a democratic province unlike mainland China that is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For decades China has run a concerted and successful diplomatic campaign to isolate and prostrate the Taiwanese nation.
According to The Guardian, the Taiwanese government said it has been cut out of discussions despite its success and claims that it warned the WHO about the risk of human-to-human transmission of a virus in December, but was ignored.
In 2003, Taiwan faced a devastating epidemic of SARS that caused 71 deaths, in light of that, they authorized a Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to coordinate across government departments and mobilize the necessary resources during future crises. The CECC took the mandatory steps that helped in managing the current pandemic well.
After its exclusion from the WHO, under the pressure of China, Taiwan has only been given the partial placement in the WHO meetings during the pandemic, China has a heavy influence on WHO since it is one of the five permanent members of the UN.
Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist from the Australian National University, told the ABC China's funding for UN agencies such as WHO made it relatively immune to criticism."It makes sense then for WHO to avoid direct criticism of China which could lead to defunding, underfunding or sudden suspension of certain WHO-backed programs," he said
However, the Taiwan government have made up their mind to do their bit in this time of crisis. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, “We cannot stop the spread of COVID-19 simply by preventing an outbreak within Taiwan. All members of the international community must pool their capabilities and work together to overcome this challenge,"
Taiwan has also decided to collaborate with the Czech Republic on the production of test kits and vaccines and the exchange of medical supplies and equipment. "Taiwan again urges WHO to comprehensively include it in related meetings, mechanisms, and activities, so that Taiwan can work hand in hand with the world to overcome this grave challenge," Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.