This is Ms. Tsai Ing-Wen. She is the first female President of Taiwan. She also leads the country with the best response to COVID-19.
Let's look at some of her stats and then her steps.
- Taiwan is geographically right next to China, and had daily flights to Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus.
- When the epidemic began, John Hopkins university predicted Taiwan would be the second hardest hit country.
- Right now, they have a population of 23 million, out of which only 427 are affected, and 6 deaths. For comparison, Canada has 37 million people, more than 40,000 cases and over 2000 dead. Not to mention, Taiwan's 23 million live in an area smaller than Nova Scotia.
Now let's see how they handled their epidemic.
Short summary: Masks, hand wash, travel ban, aggressive tracking and quarantine. Also, ignore the WHO.
Result: Everything is open, economy hasn't crashed, curve is basically flat.
- early action (from January 1, 2020). Starts to board flights from China and check passengers for symptoms.
- Travel ban from ALL flights from Wuhan, and then China, shortly after.
- Put a triage centre in airport to identify possible cases
- Strict quarantine: you get paid for staying in quarantine, get food delivered to your house, get your symptoms checked thrice a day. Break quarantine and you are fined several month's salary. They would do this for all POSSIBLE cases, not just positive cases.
- Aggressive hand washing - every public building had sanitizing stations, and you get your temperature checked before you enter. You are not allowed to enter a building if you show symptoms.
- Masks - Everyone MUST wear masks when out. Taiwan saw they have 40 million masks in their stockpile, so they cranked up production to 10 million masks PER DAY and put a price limit on the masks to prevent price gouging.
- They integrated travel, immigration, customs and health care databases and included cellphone tracking to identify possible cases and improve contact tracing.
- QUARANTINE the sick, not the healthy - was their motto.
Today, Taiwan is a classic example of using common sense and the old age methods with new technology to control an epidemic. They went hard, they went aggressive - AND THEY WENT EARLY. Today their parks, restaurants, schools, offices, public services are all open, and yet their numbers are low.
Compare this to Canada where we had no travel restrictions, no forced home quarantine, no database integration, no masks (STILL NO INSTRUCTION ON MASKS), no aggressive stockpiling of PPEs, no protection from PRICE GOUGING or PANIC BUYING, no hand washing in public buildings, NO AIRPORT measures ... the list goes on.