March 11, 2020
Taiwan seems to be the eye of the storm: a relatively safe space of 29 active cases in the heart of Eastern Asia where the coronavirus both started and continues to infect close to 90,000 people.
For those foreigners in Taiwan who nervously entered or decided to stay in the middle of the danger zone, going home is now riskier.
Taiwan has received universal praise for its handling of the coronavirus. They inspected travelers from Wuhan and China even before the CDC claimed the virus was spread by human-to-human contact, quickly enacted quarantine measures and public access to information, and distributed financial aid to citizens and businesses in order to encourage health and safety over anything else.
Hardly any other country matched Taiwan’s prevention-based response as the rest of the world is now scrambling to contain the virus.
In Iran, the public’s restricted access to information is likely to blame for the more than 6,500 cases and near 200 deaths. Furthermore, political leadership ignored safety concerns and continued to travel to the holy city of Qom, Iran’s coronavirus epicenter, infecting the regime’s leadership.
The United States quickly enacted travel bans in order to isolate the country but did not prepare for once the virus entered, which it now has. There are now 537 cases and 21 deaths with many officials suspecting the virus has been spreading undetected for weeks.
However, the official CDC coronavirus testing kit was recalled due to manufacturing errors, and there exists no nationwide response to coronavirus such as when to close a school or lock-down a city—all decisions are up to local authorities.
In Italy and France, towns are beginning to shut down as the cases reach 7,375 and 1,126 respectively. The French government has even officially advised against their infamous “les bises” greeting in order to stop the spread of the virus.
In the rest of Europe, countries are under stress as the Schengen Zone, consisting of 26 nations, promises free movement of all people—including tourists.
No one knows when the epidemic will slow or when the coronavirus will be under control, but for now, sitting at the heart of the outbreak, Taiwan seems like one of the safest spots to be.