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COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan

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COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan
COVID-19 outbreak Taiwan per capita cases map.svg
Confirmed cases per 100,000 residents by subdivision
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationTaiwan
First caseTaoyuan International Airport
Arrival date21 January 2020
(1 year, 1 month, 1 week and 3 days)
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China
Confirmed cases455[1]
Active cases8
Recovered440[1][2][3]
Deaths
7[1][2][3]
Official website
www.cdc.gov.tw/En

The COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Unlike in most other industrialised countries, the pandemic has had a much smaller impact in Taiwan, with a total of seven deaths as of 11 May 2020.[4][5][6] The number of active cases peaked on 6 April at 307 cases, the majority of which are imported.[7]

The virus was confirmed to have spread to Taiwan on 21 January 2020, from a 50-year-old woman who had been teaching in Wuhan, China.[8] The Taiwanese government integrated data from the national health care system, immigration, and customs authorities to aid in the identification and response to the virus. Government efforts are coordinated through the National Health Command Center (NHCC) of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, established to aid in disaster management for epidemics following the 2004 SARS outbreak.[9][10]

The Journal of the American Medical Association says Taiwan engaged in 124 discrete action items to prevent the spread of the disease, including early screening of flights from Mainland China and the tracking of individual cases.[11][5]

Taiwan's handling of the outbreak has received international praise for its effectiveness in quarantining people.[12][4] As of 18 June, 74,842 tests had been conducted in Taiwan with the vast majority not confirming a COVID-19 diagnosis.[1]

Starting 19 March, foreign nationals were barred from entering Taiwan, with some exceptions, such as those carrying out the term of a business contract, holding valid Alien Resident Certificates, diplomatic credentials, or other official documentation and special permits. All who are admitted into the country must complete a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival.[13]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Taiwan medical cases chart As of 19 July, there are 455 confirmed cases in Taiwan, including seven deaths.[14] Among the confirmed cases is a Taiwanese man in his 50s who was fined NT$300,000 for failure to report his symptoms and attempting to conceal his subsequent activities, leading to a potential contamination incident at a ballroom in Kaohsiung.[15] As of 15 July 2020, 440 people have recovered from COVID-19.[16]

January[edit source | edit]

On 21 January, the first case in Taiwan was confirmed in a 50-year-old woman who had just returned to Taoyuan International Airport from her teaching job in Wuhan.[8][17] She reported on her own initiative and was hospitalised without formal domestic entry.[17] The first domestic case was diagnosed in Taiwan on 28 January. A man in his 50s was believed to have acquired the disease from his wife, who had travelled to Wuhan and was confirmed before him.[18]

February[edit source | edit]

The first death in Taiwan was confirmed on 16 February involving a man in his 60s who had Hepatitis B and diabetes.[19] A woman in Taiwan was reported to have tested positive for novel coronavirus on 19 February 2020, though she had not travelled outside of Taiwan for two years.[20] Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan on 29 February 2020, four of which marked the first transmission of the disease in a hospital setting.[21] Taiwan's fiftieth case of coronavirus was confirmed on 13 March 2020, an American expatriate who hosted four United States citizens at his home in Taiwan.[22] The next day, three new cases of coronavirus were confirmed to have been imported from Europe.[23] A Taiwanese national aboard the Diamond Princess tested positive on 6 February.[24] As of 19 February, five Taiwanese nationals aboard the ship tested positive.[25] Two Taiwanese who fell ill on the Diamond Princess were discharged from Japanese hospitals in February 2020.[26] The nineteen other Taiwanese passengers on the Diamond Princess were quarantined in Taiwan until 7 March 2020. All tested negative for coronavirus, and were released.[27] The index case for coronavirus in Taiwan recovered from the disease and was discharged from hospital on 6 February 2020.[28] Approximately a week later, a second Taiwanese national, the tenth case of coronavirus, had also recovered.[29] Though community spread within the Taiwanese society did not necessarily break out, a hospital cluster was recorded after case 34. A female patient with diabetes and numerous cardiovascular diseases transmitted the virus to eight people contacted throughout February and March.[30] She later died due to heart failure on 30 March.[31]

March[edit source | edit]

On 15 March, Taiwan announced six new cases, all imported. Subsequently, Taiwan's health minister advised people to remain in Taiwan and avoid travel.[32] After discovering the mass imports of foreign cases, the CECC on 17 March that it would trace the contacts of travellers that arrived from Europe between 3 March and 14 March.[33] On 20 March 2020, Taiwan reported 27 new cases, the highest single-day increase.[34] The second death linked to coronavirus in Taiwan was announced on 20 March, and involved a man in his 80s, who had no recent travel history, but did have hypertension, diabetes and relied on kidney dialysis.[35] The death of a guide who had led tours to Austria and the Czech Republic was reported on 29 March.[36] The next day, two Taiwanese nationals who had travelled to Spain were reported to have died of coronavirus.[37]

April[edit source | edit]

A Taiwanese man who had toured Egypt in March died of coronavirus on 9 April.[38] On 18 April 2020, three Republic of China Navy cadets were confirmed to have contracted coronavirus following a military operation in Palau.[39] Other personnel on the ship were confirmed to have contracted the disease as part of the first cluster to affect the Republic of China Armed Forces.[40] As more cases from that cluster were identified,[41][42][43][44][45][46][47] President Tsai Ing-wen asked the Ministry of National Defense to investigate the situation.[48] Defence minister Yen Teh-fa said vice admiral Kao Chia-pin and rear admiral Chen Tao-hui had been removed from their posts as commander of Republic of China Naval Fleet Command and leader of the ROCN's Friendship Fleet, respectively.[49] On 30 April 2020, an employee of the Taipei Representative Office in France was confirmed to have fallen ill with coronavirus, becoming the first Taiwanese diplomat stationed overseas to contract the disease.[50][51]

May[edit source | edit]

On 10 May, Taiwan recorded 28 consecutive days or two cycles of the average incubation period of the virus without newly recorded domestic cases.[52] Therefore, the CECC deems the risk of being infected within Taiwan is low.[53] The death of a man who had visited the United States and contracted coronavirus was confirmed on 11 May.[54] On 26 May, Chang Shan-chwen announced an end to the Central Epidemic Command Center's investigation on COVID-19 cases from ROCS Panshih. The ship's index case was likely to have been infected in Taiwan. Though the probe closed without finding a more specific location, it did find that sailors were infected with a Southeast Asian strain present in the Philippines, and that infectious occurred in four waves, around 10 March, 20 March, the beginning of April, and the middle of April.[55] On 30 May, a second member of Taiwan's diplomatic corps was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in Honduras.[56]

June[edit source | edit]

By 7 June, Taiwan had not reported local cases for over four incubation periods which is 56 days. As a result, Taiwan began lifting pandemic-related restrictions.[57] Starting 10 June, press briefings held by the Central Epidemic Command Center were scheduled weekly.[58] On 12 June, the Ministry of National Defense disclosed further conclusions regarding the ROCS Panshih cluster, attributing the cluster to substandard health testing. Subsequently, Chen Tao-hui and Kao Chia-pin returned to their posts.[59] The patient involved in the longest hospitalization in Taiwan due to COVID-19 spent 75 days in hospital, and was released in mid-June.[60]

On 24 June, the CECC announced that a Japanese university student who had returned to Japan on 20 June had been diagnosed with COVID-19 by Japanese health authorities.[61][62] Analysis of the student's test results led the CECC to conclude that she was a weak positive, although the agency did not rule out the possibility of infection in Taiwan, or potential for a false positive. The case was not added to Taiwan's total, as the student was not tested in Taiwan.[63][64] The CECC confirmed that the student did not spread COVID-19 to others during her stay in Taiwan.[65][66]

July[edit source | edit]

The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association announced on 2 July that the 2020 William Jones Cup would not be held due to the pandemic. This was the third time since the competition began in 1977 that it was cancelled. The tournament had been previously cancelled in 1989 because of a fire in the host venue, and in 2003, during the SARS outbreak.[67]

Taiwan's annual public air raid drill was held on 14 July, but with significant changes. The thirty-minute drills normally require citizens to clear the streets and remain indoors until the drill concludes. On the advice of the CECC, however, the Ministry of National Defense did not restrict the movement of citizens to prevent the formation of crowds, especially in public transit stations.[68]

Preventive measures[edit source | edit]

Surgical masks used by people in Taiwan
Surgical masks and other medical equipment sold out in Taiwan

Before first case reported[edit source | edit]

On 31 December 2019, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) implemented inspection measures for inbound flights from Wuhan, China in response to reports of an unidentified outbreak.[69] The passengers of all such flights were inspected by health officials before disembarking.[69] Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that Luo Yi-jun, deputy director for Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control, had been reading on PTT in the early hours of New Year's Eve when a thread about an unknown disease causing pneumonia in Wuhan caught his attention. He saw a post including screenshots from a group chat with Li Wenliang. He immediately emailed colleagues and put the country on alert.[70][71]

A six-year-old passenger who transferred in Wuhan and developed a fever was closely monitored by the CDC.[72] At this time, there were alleged to be 27 cases of the new pneumonia in Wuhan.[72]

By 5 January 2020, the Taiwan CDC began monitoring all individuals who had travelled to Wuhan within fourteen days and exhibited a fever or symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. These people were screened for 26 known pathogens, including SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome, and those testing positive were quarantined.[9]

On 20 January, the government deemed the risk posed by the outbreak sufficient to activate the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).[73][74][75] Originally established as a level 3 government entity,[74] the CECC was promoted to level 1 on 28 February.[76] The CECC has coordinated government responses across areas including logistics for citizens on the Diamond Princess, disinfection of public spaces around schools, and providing briefings with Chen Shih-chung, the Minister of Health and Welfare.[9]

After first case reported[edit source | edit]

On 21 January, the same day that Taiwan's CDC reported the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in Taiwan, a level 3 travel alert to Wuhan was issued, recommending avoidance of all non-essential travels to the city.[77]

On 26 January, Taiwan suspended all air travel to and from China, and put in place quarantine measures for passengers who flew from China.[78]

On 24 January, the Taiwanese government announced a temporary ban on the export of face masks for one month to secure a supply of masks for its own citizens.[79][80] The ban was extended twice; on 13 February until the end of April,[81] and on 13 April until the end of June.[82] On 6 February, the government instituted a mask rationing system, requiring citizens to present their National Health Insurance card.[83][84] Prior to its implementation, the system was extended to holders of the Alien Resident Certificate, and people with valid entry permits.[85] People with odd-numbered identity documents were permitted to buy masks on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; those with even-numbered identity documents were to buy masks on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; anyone is allowed to buy masks on Sundays. Adults were allowed to buy two masks each visit and children four, with the restriction that a minimum of seven days must elapse since the last purchase. The date restriction for children under thirteen years of age was revoked on 27 February.[86][87] Starting 5 March, adults were permitted to buy three masks weekly, and the children's quota was raised to five.[88] Masks were available for pre-order online from 12 March.[89] In April, the mask rationing system was revised, so that adults could buy nine masks every two weeks. From 9 April, the specific date restrictions are to be removed. In addition, Taiwanese nationals can send 30 masks every two months overseas to first or second-degree relatives.[90][91] Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs assumed responsibility for distribution of masks to families of diplomats.[92]

With population of 24 million, Taiwan has been producing more than 13 million masks per day since March,[93] later increasing the output to 20 million.[94]

On 2 February 2020, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center postponed the opening of primary and secondary schools until 25 February (originally 11 February).[95][96] In early February 2020 Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center requested the mobilisation of the Taiwanese Armed Forces to contain the spread of the virus and to build up the defences against it. Soldiers were dispatched to the factory floors of major mask manufacturers to help staff the 62 additional mask production lines being set up at the time.[97] In early March, Taiwan's average production of surgical face masks reached 9.2 million per day.[98] By the end of March, the daily production of surgical face masks reached 13 million.[93]

Disinfection against coronavirus

The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation and the Taiwan Sugar Corporation increased production of 75 per cent alcohol for use in sanitation.[99] On 25 February 2020, the Heping Women and Children's Hospital, a branch of the Taipei City Hospital [zh], was specially designated to care for patients with coronavirus.[100] From 4–31 March, the export of digital thermometers was banned.[101][102] On 16 March, the Tsai Ing-wen presidential administration announced that Makalot Industrial and other Taiwanese companies would begin domestic mass production of protective gowns, ending a reliance on American imports from DuPont during the pandemic.[103] A ban on the export of hand sanitisers and disinfectants was announced on 1 May 2020.[104]

The Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for COVID-19 was passed by the Legislative Yuan on 25 February 2020,[105] followed by a special budget for coronavirus expenses on 13 March 2020.[106] The special budget was raised by an amendment passed on 21 April.[107]

As of 14 March, persons returning to Taiwan from most of Europe, plus persons who have transferred through China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Dubai, must quarantine in-home for 14 days.[108] As of 17 March, foreign nationals permitted in the country, namely, those who hold Alien Resident Certificates or who are on urgent diplomatic, business or other special missions, can rent a room in a public quarantine centre.[109] On 20 March, the CECC has raised global travel notice to level 3; Taiwanese citizens are advised to avoid all nonessential travel.[110] On 31 March, transportation and communications minister Lin Chia-lung announced that all passengers on trains and intercity buses were required to wear masks, as were people at highway rest stops. The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation installed thermal cameras at entrances to all twelve high speed rail stations. The Taiwan Railways Administration did the same for every one of its 239 stations.[111] The CECC said on 3 April that passengers who refuse to wear masks after being asked to do so would be assessed a fine of NT$3,000 to NT$15,000, as stipulated by the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).[112]

Travel notices and border control[edit source | edit]

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Level 3 travel alerts have been issued by Taiwan for every country or region globally.[113] Taiwanese authorities suspended tours to China starting in February 2020.[114] The ban's duration was extended through April 2020,[115] and expanded to cover Hong Kong and Macau.[116] On 31 January, Italy banned flights from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[117][118] However, China Airlines was permitted to fly Taiwanese nationals in Italy to Taiwan.[119][120] Taiwan announced a ban on cruise ships entering all Taiwanese ports from 6 February.[121] On 10 February, the Philippines announced a ban on the entry of Taiwanese citizens due to the One-China Policy.[122] Later on 14 February, Presidential Spokesperson of Philippines, Salvador Panelo, announced the lifting of the temporary ban on Taiwan.[123] On 23 February 2020, Taiwan banned frontline medical professionals working in hospitals from traveling to areas placed under a Level 3 travel alert.[124][125] The ban is to remain in place until 30 June.[126] On 16 March, the Executive Yuan announced that teachers and students at the secondary school level and below were prohibited from overseas travel until July.[127] Starting 19 March foreign nationals were barred from entering Taiwan, with some exceptions, such as those carrying out the term of a business contract, holding valid Alien Resident Certificates, diplomatic credentials, or other official documentation and special permits.[13] From 22 June, business travellers that remained within New Zealand, Australia, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, and Bhutan for fourteen days and planned to stay in Taiwan for less than three months were allowed to enter the country alongside a five-day mandatory quarantine instead of fourteen days.[128] Starting on 25 June, passengers on China Airlines, EVA Air, and Cathay Pacific were permitted to transit through Taoyuan International Airport if they were connecting to another flight operated by the same airline, and their total stopover time was less than eight hours.[129]

Levels Suggestions Included countries/regions [130]
Level 1: Watch Follow local prevention measures
Self quarantine for 14 days required upon arrival
None
Level 2: Alert Further protective measures
Self quarantine for 14 days required upon arrival
None
Level 3: Warning Avoid all nonessential travels
Self quarantine for 14 days required upon arrival
Global

Face masks policy[edit source | edit]

President Tsai Ing-wen wearing a mask

The Taiwanese government announced on 24 January a ban on the export of face masks before the epidemic had spread to many countries, which caused controversy; however, after the outbreak of the epidemic, people rushed to buy masks in many countries around the world.[131][132][80] (Incidents of face-mask confiscation by a government occurred in mainland China, the world's top face-mask manufacturer.[133][134])

In early February 2020 the Executive Yuan adopted the recommendations of professors Huang Li-min (黃立民) and Chang Shang-chwen of the National Taiwan University Medical School, advocating that healthy people do not need to wear masks in open spaces. On 8 February, Chen Shih-chung, commander of the Central Epidemic Prevention Center, further said there was no need to wear a mask on public transportation.[135] This caused a storm of protest, concentrating on the point that public transportation such as buses and MRT carriages are confined spaces, and viruses are transmitted more easily there than in open spaces.[136] (Mask-wearing has a tradition of social acceptance in East Asia – regardless of scientific debates over the effectiveness of masks in impeding the transmission of viruses.)

In early April, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced the donation of 10 million masks to countries which suffered severely from the coronavirus pandemic.[137] In response to the donation, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a tweet that the European Union "really appreciate[d] this gesture of solidarity".[138] The U.S. National Security Council also wrote a tweet thanking Taiwan's willingness to "support and collaborate" with the U.S.[139] In a press conference on 1 April, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying responded to questions about the mask donations, advising anyone in Taiwan who would seek to politicise the pandemic to "think twice and act prudently".[140]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

Imported cases: 364; Locally transmitted cases: 55; Navy cases: 36

Economic impact[edit source | edit]

Amid Taiwan’s success of preventing mass lockdown that could have devastated the economy, International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasted Taiwan's 2020 annual gross domestic product (GDP) with a decline of 4%, lower than 6% average decline of most developed economies.[141] Private analysts predict a contraction of just 1.2% of the GDP while the government remains optimistic of a growth of 1.92%.[142]

In an effort to mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic, the Executive Yuan proposed a stimulus package worth NT$60 billion (US$2 billion).[143] On 25 February, the Legislative Yuan passed the stimulus package and Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for COVID-19.[144][145] The Ministry of Economic Affairs had also introduced stimulus coupons to encourage citizens to buy commodities.[146] Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index had decreased over 13.1% due to the coronavirus as of 12 March. Foreign investors have sold over NT$200 billion.[147] Therefore, National Stabilization Fund decided on 19 March that it is essential to intervene in the stock market.[148] On 3 April, Premier Su Tseng-chang announced an expansion of the stimulus package to NT$1.05 trillion.[149] On 30 April, Taiwan published its GDP in the first quarter of 2020 which saw a growth of 1.52% year-on-year despite decreasing exports.[150][151]

Economic stimulus vouchers with a range of monetary values were made available in mid-July to Taiwanese citizens and foreign residents with a Taiwanese spouse. Vouchers were available via purchase and via special lotteries. They are targeted at specific industries, such as agriculture and tourism, and are set to expire on December 31 to help boost the sectors most affected by the pandemic.[152]

Aviation[edit source | edit]

In the aviation industry, Taiwanese carrier China Airlines's direct flights to Rome have first been rejected and cancelled since Italy has announced the ban on Taiwanese flights.[153] The second-largest Taiwanese airline, EVA Air, has also postponed the launch of Milan and Phuket flights.[154] Both Taiwanese airlines have cut numerous cross-strait destinations, leaving just three Chinese cities still served.[155] As global cases emerge, air demands for traveling have been decreasing, leaving the country's largest airport, Taoyuan International Airport, with just 669 passengers arriving or departing without any passenger in Terminal 1 at the lowest point.[156] This led to a reconsideration of reducing the number of boarding gates to 18.[157] On 13 May, EVA Air reported a net loss of NT$1.2 billion because of low demand caused by the pandemic.[158] Starlux Airlines, a start-up airline which launched its first flights in 23 January 2020 shut down most of its routes only a month after its launch.[159]

2020 Chinese Professional Baseball League season[edit source | edit]

On 12 April, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) resumed its 2020 regular-season play before empty stadiums. The league quickly hired English announcers as this proved to be the only professional baseball season being played in the world. James Lin, a representative of CPBL's international affairs division, said, "It shows that it's possible to contain the situation, and to return to some semblance of normality."[160] To protect player health, the league banned the consumption of sunflower seeds and dipping tobacco, as the use of those products require spitting.[161] Starting 8 May, a maximum of 1,000 fans were permitted to attend games.[162][163] However, concession stands at ballparks remained closed, and spectators were not allowed to bring their own food.[164] From 15 May, 2,000 spectators were allowed into ballparks, and the league began providing fans with lunchboxes, as the ban on outside food remained in effect.[165] Starting on 7 June, stadiums admitted fans to half capacity.[166]

Evacuations related to the pandemic[edit source | edit]

Departure date Evacuees Departure airport Arrival airport Notes
3 February 2020 Template:Country data TWN 247 Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Taoyuan International Airport Charter flight operated by China Eastern Airlines.[167]
21 February 2020 Template:Country data TWN 19 Haneda International Airport Taoyuan International Airport Evacuated Diamond Princess passengers.[168]
24 February 2020 Template:Country data TWN 2 Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport Taoyuan International Airport A child with hemophilia and his mother did not board the 3 February evacuation flight from Wuhan. They travelled from Jingmen to Chengdu to board a flight operated by EVA Air. The EVA Air flight departed Chengdu on 24 February, and arrived in Taoyuan later that day.[169][170]
2 March 2020 Template:Country data TWN 11 Istanbul Airport Taoyuan International Airport After an Israeli passenger on another Turkish Airlines flight tested positive, the airline ran a special flight to take a Taiwanese tour group on the same flight as the confirmed case home.[171]
10, 11 March 2020 Template:Country data TWN 361 Wuhan Tianhe International Airport Taoyuan International Airport After some conflict between the Chinese and Taiwanese governments, two flights, one operated by China Airlines with 169 evacuees and another by China Eastern Airlines carrying 192, arrived around 23:00 on 10 March and 4:00 on 11 March respectively.[172]
29, 30 March 2020 Template:Country data TWN 367 Shanghai Pudong International Airport Taoyuan International Airport A flight operated by China Airlines evacuated 153 Taiwanese nationals from Shanghai on 29 March.[173] An additional 214 evacuees were flown to Taiwan on 30 March.[174]
29 March 2020 Template:Country data TWN 55
Japan 29
United States 34
Template:Country data SIN 14
Template:Country data MYS 7
Cusco International Airport
Lima International Airport
Miami International Airport The flight, chartered by LATAM Airlines, departed from Cusco, a southeastern city in Peru, with 38 Taiwanese on board, then flew to the capital, Lima, to pick up an additional 17 Taiwanese nationals. Another 84 passengers of four different nationalities—Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the U.S.–boarded the aircraft, bringing the total number of passengers to 139. The flight landed in Miami and all passengers were permitted to stay in the city or continue to their own country.[175][176]
18 April 2020 Template:Country data TWN 60 Dubai International Airport Taoyuan International Airport An Emirates flight departed Dubai on 18 April, carrying 60 Taiwanese passengers, and arrived in Taiwan on the same day.[177][178]
20, 21 April 2020 Template:Country data TWN 460 Shanghai Pudong International Airport Taoyuan International Airport On 20 April, a chartered China Airlines flight departed Shanghai with 231 Taiwanese passengers aboard.[179] The next day, another chartered flight operated by the same airline evacuated another 229 Taiwanese nationals.[180]
29 April 2020 Template:Country data TWN 11 Tokyo Narita International Airport Taoyuan International Airport The Japanese government chartered Saudia Airlines Flight SV3555 to evacuate its own citizens from King Khalid International Airport to Tokyo Narita International Airport.[181][182] The 11 Taiwanese on that flight then flew to Taiwan on another aircraft.[183]
29 April 2020 Template:Country data TWN ~30 Taoyuan International Airport Approximately 30 Taiwanese nationals were flown from India to South Korea on 28 April, and subsequently arrived in Taiwan the next day.[184]
4 May 2020 Template:Country data TWN 114
India 15
Indira Gandhi International Airport Taoyuan International Airport A chartered China Airlines flight departed Delhi on 4 May and arrived in Taiwan the next day, carrying 114 Taiwanese nationals and 15 foreign nationals based in Taiwan.[185][186] Of the 129 passengers on the flight, 28 travelled to Delhi from Bangladesh.[187]
16 May 2020 Template:Country data TWN 36 Kuala Lumpur International Airport Taoyuan International Airport A chartered AirAsia flight departed Malé for Kuala Lumpur, carrying 36 Taiwanese passengers. They subsequently boarded China Airlines Flight 722 from Kuala Lumpur to Taoyuan.[188]
26 May 2020 Template:Country data TWN 94
Russia 2
Tokyo Narita International Airport Taoyuan International Airport A chartered Japan Airlines flight departed Moscow for Tokyo on 25 May, carrying 94 Taiwanese passengers, two Russian nationals, and 47 Japanese citizens. The 94 Taiwanese and two Russians boarded a second flight from Tokyo to Taoyuan the next day.[189][190]
26 May 2020 Template:Country data THA 165 Taoyuan International Airport Suvarnabhumi Airport Thai Smile Airways Flight WE 8095 departed Taiwan and arrived in Thailand on 26 May with 165 Thai passengers aboard.[191][192]
29 May 2020 Template:Country data VNM 344 Taoyuan International Airport Tan Son Nhat International Airport On 29 May, a chartered Vietnam Airlines flight arrived in Taiwan with some Taiwanese passengers and Vietnamese expatriates based in Taiwan aboard. The flight returned to Ho Chi Minh City later that day, with 344 Vietnamese nationals on board.[193][194]
7 June 2020 Template:Country data TWN 118 Warsaw Chopin Airport Taoyuan International Airport On 7 June, a chartered LOT Polish Airlines flight arrived in Taoyuan from Warsaw with 118 Taiwanese nationals aboard.[195][196] The flight, arranged by Lin's International Consulting Co., Ltd., was the first direct flight flown between Poland and Taiwan.[197][198]
7 July 2020 Template:Country data VNM 240 Taoyuan International Airport Tan Son Nhat International Airport On 7 July, a chartered VietJet Air flight arrived in Taiwan with 70 Taiwanese passengers and their families aboard. The flight returned to Ho Chi Minh City later that day, with 240 Vietnamese nationals on board.[199]

Domestic response[edit source | edit]

An opinion poll conducted by Taiwan's TVBS published on 26 March, health minister Chen Shih-chung received an approval rating of 91%, much higher than any other Taiwanese politician, including Tsai Ing-wen.[200] Taiwanese are particularly reassured by Chen's swift response, timely orders and candid communication style.[201] In the same TVBS poll, 84% of respondents approved of COVID-19 measures taken by the Tsai administration.[200]

International responses[edit source | edit]

Taiwan's early deployment of epidemic control measures and follow-up actions have received international praise and approval.[202] On 13 March 2020, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged for the Minister of Health, Chen Shih-chung, to have a meeting with envoys and representatives from various countries, and the epidemic prevention methods were affirmed.[203] Taiwan donated a total of 10 million masks with 7 million masks to Europe (Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherland, Luxembourg, Czech, Poland, United Kingdom, Switzerland) and 2 million masks to United States, and 1 million to diplomatic allies on 1 April 2020.[204][205]

Australia[edit source | edit]

In an interview, medical researcher Ih-Jen Su told Australian media not to trust the accuracy of data from China or the World Health Organisation (WHO).[206] He told them that data from WHO lags behind the real situation.[207] Journalist Eryk Bradshaw wrote an article about Taiwan entitled: A population the same as Australia's but a fraction of the coronavirus cases.[208]

Canada[edit source | edit]

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) pointed out several measures that Taiwan has taken to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. It emphasised that Taiwan has used lessons learned during the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak to combat the coronavirus pandemic.[209] On 8 May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Taiwan for its donation of 500,000 masks after his foreign minister, François-Philippe Champagne, refused to do so.[210]

Czech Republic[edit source | edit]

After Prague established sister city ties with the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei, on 13 January 2020, Shanghai announced an end to its relationship with Prague.[211] Later in April, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, a physician who interned at a hospital at Taipei as a student, criticised the Chinese government for manipulating the pandemic, seizing a business opportunity to sell medical equipment to the Czech Republic instead of donating.[212] In addition, several countries including the Czech Republic had returned test kits and ventilators sold by the Chinese authorities after discovering that they were unusable.[213]

Denmark[edit source | edit]

Former Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, wrote an article for Time, supporting Taiwanese participation within international organisations such as the World Health Organization in an effort to prevent deaths. He has compared preventive actions taken by the Taiwanese government and expressed the belief that other nations should have implemented such measures.[214]

Germany[edit source | edit]

German politician Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht described Taiwanese response to the virus as outstanding.[215]

Israel[edit source | edit]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that the Israeli government would use Taiwan's experience to fight the epidemic.[216][217]

Japan[edit source | edit]

On 10 March, the Japanese news site Foresight published an article by a freelance journalist named Nojima who is familiar with Taiwan affairs, analysing Taiwan's policy decisions regarding the epidemic.[218] Japanese media also carried out long reports on Chen Shih-chung, Tang Feng and others. Tang Feng received the most attention in Japan.[219]

People's Republic of China[edit source | edit]

False reports of the outbreak spreading out of control in Southern Taiwan from PRC netizens began in early January.[220]

New Zealand[edit source | edit]

On 15 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would follow Taiwan's example in their strategy to fight the epidemic.[221] Several news outlets in New Zealand have also mentioned what Taiwan has done to prevent the coronavirus.[222][223] TVNZ1 also reported Taiwan in the Saturday 6 pm Headline.[224] New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly on 12 May despite China's protest.[225] Commentaries have praised Taiwan as the de facto inspiration and role model behind New Zealand's success.[226]

South Korea[edit source | edit]

During late February when South Korea was suffering from its domestic outbreak, the supplies of masks were running out. South Korean news started to emphasise Taiwan's masks policies, including ban on masks exports and masks selling policies, while criticizing the South Korean government for being too slow to react.[227][228]

United States[edit source | edit]

U.S. newspapers and magazines have suggested Taiwan and other Asian nations have done a better job at combating the coronavirus than the U.S.,[229][230] and mentioned how Taiwan has banned the export of masks and boosted mask production.[231] On 28 May, Guam announced to allow South Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese tourists to enter the American territory without mandatory quarantine starting from 1 July.[232] However on 26 June, the reopening of tourism in Guam has been pushed back 30 days.[233]

International status[edit source | edit]

Dispute over political status[edit source | edit]

International Civil Aviation Organization[edit source | edit]

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialised civil aviation agency of the United Nations, rejected Taiwan's participation amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, which impacted Taiwan's ability to gather information from the international organisation. The Republic of China was the founding member of the ICAO until 1971, when its membership was transferred to the PRC despite losing much of its territory in the late stages of the Chinese Civil War.[citation needed]

In response to public inquiry on the organisation's decision on Twitter, ICAO commented that their action is intended to "defend the integrity of the information".[234] The United Nations Secretary General described these inquiries as a misinformation campaign targeting ICAO.[235]

World Health Organization[edit source | edit]

The World Health Organization (WHO) have listed Taiwan as part of China, which resulted in multiple countries including Italy,[236] Vietnam,[237] and the Philippines[238] briefly banning flights from Taiwan in January and February 2020, despite the disease not then having reached epidemic status in Taiwan.[239][240]

Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center hosted an interactive map which initially listed Taiwan under the category "country/region", along with Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. On 10 March, Taiwan's name was switched to Taipei and environs, a designation used by the World Health Organization. When a news organisation reached out, the associate professor in charge of the project claimed they would be changing it back to Taiwan immediately.[241][242] By 12 March, Taiwan was restored to the map, and the university said it would adhere to naming conventions developed by the United States Department of State.[243]

Although Taiwan is excluded from the World Health Organization due to opposition from China, and thus has limited access to shared scientific information and data, the country's response has been lauded in international press.[11][231][244][245] Despite its proximity to China and large human flows, Taiwan has recorded the lowest incidence rate per capita – around 1 in every 500,000 people.[231] Success factors cited have included the fact that the country's vice president, Chen Chien-jen, is an epidemiologist who had obtained a doctoral degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;[245] and the lessons learnt from the SARS epidemic in 2003, which hit Taiwan hard. Infrastructure, including the establishment of a national health command centre integrating relevant agencies; data analytics; policies aimed at keeping health care affordable; and extensive educational outreach were put in place following the SARS outbreak.[244][245] Researchers at Stanford Health Policy researcher published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association arguing that Taiwan's action plan – which included 124 discrete actions and coordination to be implemented in the first instance – including travel bans, quarantines, surveillance steps, social distancing – had saved Taiwan from a serious epidemic.[11]

On 28 March, Yvonne Tong of the Hong Kong-based news channel The Pulse interviewed Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization. During the interview a question relating to Taiwan came up. After initially claiming he had not heard the question and suggesting that Tong move on to a different question, Tong persisted in her questioning. Aylward proceeded to suddenly hang up the call without explanation. Tong called back and repeated her question about Taiwan, after which Aylward said he had "already talked about China" and proceeded to once again end the call. Aylward's response was met with widespread outrage and mockery, and his biography was subsequently removed from the World Health Organization's website.[246][247]

On 9 April, Taiwan demanded an immediate apology from WHO leader Tedros Adhanom for making false accusations about racist remarks, claiming that the Taiwanese government and populace were slandering him based on his Ethiopian ethnicity instead of his response to the virus. The Taiwanese government and online commentators protested this accusation, noting that Taiwan is open and friendly to all races and has historically given African doctors medical training, including Ethiopian doctors. Ethiopian doctors currently resident in Taiwan were interviewed, affirming that Taiwan is not a racist country.[248][249]

Rename of China Airlines[edit source | edit]

Taiwan's national carrier China Airlines aided the distribution of face masks and other medical equipment abroad, which led to a reconsideration of a name change, due to worries of confusion in differing itself and other Chinese carriers.[250] In the Legislative Yuan, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung expressed his concerns of confusion over the nationality of the country's largest air carrier.[251] Lin acknowledged that shareholders and members of the public would need to approve any new name.[252] Although the monetary cost and possible slot time losses were potential obstacles to the airline's renaming,[253] both Lin and Premier Su Tseng-chang supported the renaming.[254][255] Su and deputy transportation minister Wang Kwo-tsai said that the government would consider adding Taiwan-centric elements to China Airlines aircraft.[255][256] Subsequently, bills were proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party and New Power Party regarding a redesign of aircraft livery.[257]

Cooperation with the United States[edit source | edit]

On 4 March, the House of Representatives unanimously (415–0) passed a modified version of the TAIPEI Act, with the goal of supporting Taiwan's attempts to join international organisations. On 11 March, the Senate unanimously passed the House's version of the TAIPEI Act.[258] On 27 March, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the TAIPEI Act into law. The TAIPEI Act was denounced by the Chinese (PRC) government.[259]

On 18 March, the American Institute in Taiwan announced that the United States would cooperate with Taiwan on researching and developing vaccines and rapid tests.[260] The United States and Taiwan held an online forum which focused on the participation of Taiwan in the World Health Organization and how to share the success that Taiwan has achieved throughout the pandemic.[261] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying criticised this action as political manipulation.[262]

Gallery[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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