" Learning from the experiences of SARS in 2003, Taiwan was ready when the outbreak in Wuhan occurred. After the first notifications at the end of 2019, Taipei swiftly deployed a combination of measures to identify and contain the virus, including the use of big data to help contain potential cases.
It also made use of technology, integrating the national health insurance database with its immigration and customs database. By merging databases they could collect information on every citizen’s 14-day travel history and ask those who visited high-risk areas to self-isolate. Mobile phones were tracked to ensure people stayed at home. Those who had not been to a high-risk area received a SMS to enable faster immigration clearance when traveling.
These measures were strict but combined with a high degree of transparency from the government. Daily press briefings were given and regular public service broadcasts were issued from the President’s office, and simple messaging about hand washing, face masks and the dangers of hoarding were effective.
Perhaps not all of these actions would be culturally appropriate for a European or American audience, but there can be little doubt that it has saved lives and is helping to prevent widespread panic. We should look to Taiwan and try to learn lessons for both the current outbreak, and for the inevitable outbreaks of disease that are now characteristic of our globalized world."
good follow-up read
"In Taiwan, diverse political parties were willing to work together to produce an immediate response to the danger,” said Brook, also of the nonprofit RAND Corporation. “Transparency was critical and frequent communication to the public from a trusted official was paramount to reducing public panic"