Taiwan’s experience has been a rare positive example of how governments can contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19. As of April 9, Taiwan had 380 confirmed cases and 5 deaths, a stunningly low number for a population of 23.6 million. This is particularly impressive given the high level of travel between China and Taiwan.
Taiwan’s success should be attributed to early preparedness, health expertise, government competence, and popular alertness.
Particularly important in Taiwan’s approach are transparency and open information. Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, established after SARS, releases information in daily briefings. This starkly contrasts with China’s initial cover-ups of the outbreak and its continued suppression of independent reporting. Taiwan’s experience rebuts the misleading narrative that only countries with draconian authoritarian powers can effectively combat the virus.
Why isn’t Taiwan a member of the WHO?
China, officially called the People’s Republic of China (PRC), refuses to allow that to happen. The PRC claims that Taiwan is a province of China, not an independent state. It says that only the PRC has the right to represent all of China in the United Nations and other international organizations, including the WHO, that limit membership to states.
Taiwan’s government, generally called the Republic of China on Taiwan, has all the elements of statehood required by international law and maintains diplomatic relations with fifteen countries.