Taiwan Reports No New Coronavirus Cases, Adding To Success In Fighting Pandemic

Apr 14, 2020

Taiwan reported no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, marking the first time authorities there have reported zero new cases in more than a month. It's also the latest achievement for a health system that first acted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 back in December.

Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, has just 393 confirmed COVID-19 cases; six people have died from the disease.

The last time Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center announced no new cases was on March 9 – 36 days ago.

Taiwan has won praise for keeping the coronavirus under control despite its close links with China. Millions of people travel between the island and the mainland every year — including 2.7 million visitors from the mainland last year.

Because of its aggressive and early response to the coronavirus, Taiwan — like Hong Kong and South Korea — has been able to avoid lockdown measures and keep many schools, restaurants and offices open.

An academic paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month credited Taiwan's government with taking 124 actions to identify potential cases of the then-emerging respiratory virus.

Some of those steps, taken in January, included limiting the price of face masks and barring their export. By Jan. 24, Taiwan was setting up COVID-19 testing facilities at the federal disease control center and eight hospitals.

"Taiwan activated a response command center, sent a fact-finding team to China, imposed swift travel bans and quarantines," as NPR reported last month.

The government also took high-tech measures to trace people who might be infected, or who came in contact with someone who was.

In a single day, the JAMA study stated, Taiwanese agencies merged patients' past 14-day travel history with their public health insurance information, combining data from health identification cards and from the immigration agency.

The island graded travelers according to their risk of infection based on where they had been. According to the researchers, people with the highest risk "were quarantined at home and tracked through their mobile phone to ensure that they remained at home during the incubation period."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.