The Secret of success
One of the main reasons for Taiwan's success in containing the virus is speed.
The island's leaders were quick to act as rumors spread online of an unidentified virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan and unconfirmed reports of patients having to isolate.
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told CNN the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 had taught them a lot. "At the time Taiwan was hit very hard and then we started building up our capacity dealing with a pandemic like this," said Wu.
"So, when we heard that there were some secret pneumonia cases in China where patients were treated in isolation, we knew it was something similar."
Even before Beijing publicly acknowledged the gravity of the virus, Wu said Taiwan health officials began screening passengers arriving from Wuhan and additional early travel restrictions were put in place.
As much of the world waited for more information, Taiwan activated its Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), which coordinates different ministries in an emergency, and the military was brought in to boost mask and PPE production.
Those initial, early responses to the outbreak in China -- and the willingness to take action -- were critical in preventing the spread of the virus in Taiwan, potentially saving thousands of lives.
During the height of the lockdowns imposed in the Philippines as measures to help contain the spread of the covid19 pandemic in the country, four colleagues belonging to the Philippine Foreign Trade Service Corps, all Philippine Commercial Diplomats heading the various Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in Tokyo, Seoul, Brussels and here in Taiwan, respectively -- countries which did not impose total lockdowns and community quarantnes -- joined hands to work quietly together on a project to produce reusable face masks with relatively higher levels of protection by adding an insertable hepa filter-feature.
Together, they sought donations from various members of the business community from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to source materials such as fabrics, hepa filters, labels and packaging and elastic bands and worked with kind-hearted businessmen, institutions and individuals from the Philippines to tap differently-abled, disabled and less fortunate individuals whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
The project was able to produce more than 10,000 reusable and washable masks to be distributed to frontliners and less-fortunate families and communities, whose means could not afford for them to buy much-needed disposable facemasks, which were in great scarcity at the time, to protect their families and loved ones.
The video gives a brief description of the project and explains the science and effectivity of using face masks to minimize the risks of getting covid19. Not new knowledge here, but from time to time, it would be good to remind ourselves of the critical importance of wearing face masks, especially now that everyone seems to be having covid19 fatigue.
Please watch in your spare time and share to your contacts, as a reminder. It might help save lives.
ABOUT PTIC TAIPEI
The Philippine Trade & Investment Center in Taipei is the Commercial Affairs Section of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office and the representative office of the Philippine Department of Trade & Industry in Taiwan