New Delhi: While a few countries go back into Covid-19 induced lockdown and with others like the US and India reporting new highs, Taiwan has set a record by not reporting a single locally transmitted Covid-19 case in 200 days i.e. more than six months. Also Read - China Imposes Sanctions on Top US Defence Firms For Supplying Arms to Taiwan
Taiwan reached the 200-day landmark on Thursday and Friday marks the 201st day the country has gone without reporting a local case. The last locally transmitted Covid-19 case in Taiwan was reported on April 12. The island of 23 million people has had 553 confirmed coronavirus cases and only seven deaths. Also Read - 'Free Media in India', Centre Takes Veiled Shot at Chinese Embassy For Issuing Guidelines on Taiwan Coverage
So, what did Taiwan do that it was able to achieve this? Here’s what experts say. Also Read - Fact Check: Did Taiwan Really Shoot-Down Chinese Fighter Jet For Violating Its Airspace? Here's The Truth
Borders Closed Early On
Experts said closing borders early in the pandemic and strictly regulating travel have taken Taiwan a long way in fighting Covid-19.
Taiwan began shutting down borders for non-residents soon after the coronavirus outbreak in January, when it was reported to be a SARS-like virus. Since then, the country has kept a tight control over its border.
Experience With SARS
Taiwan’s deadly experience with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) also scared people into complying with the strict precautions. The country learnt its lessons from past epidemics like SARS which struck in 2003, made hundreds ill and killed at least 73.
Taiwan also went through pandemics such as bird flu and H1N1 influenza. So, the residents were used to virus-fighting habits like mask-wearing and hand washing.
Masks, Quarantine, Contact Tracing
Experts said other factors include technology-enforced quarantine, rigorous contact tracing and widespread mask wearing.
Early in the pandemic, the government stockpiled all domestically produced masks and banned their export. Companies increased production from 2 million to 20 million masks a day within four months. This helped Taiwan ration masks for its citizens regularly.
The nation’s contact-tracing has also been world class. On average, it linked 20 to 30 contact with each confirmed Covid case. In one case, they tracked down as many as 150 contacts. All contact are then made to undergo a 14-day quarantine even if they tested negative for the virus.