“Of course, we hope it has passed,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference, referring to the outbreak on the island.
Chen said the last time Taiwan reported no new cases was March 9, after which numbers spiked for a time as people came back to the island from places now reeling from the pandemic in Europe and the United States.
“But we still need to be on our guard. Of course, we feel happy at no new cases today,” he said.
Taiwan has reported a total of 393 COVID-19 infections as of April 14. Of these, 338 were so-called imported cases, in which people were suspected of being infected overseas before entering Taiwan, with the rest cases of local transmissions.
“It has navigated the pandemic with extraordinary skill given its proximity to the source, resulting in only six deaths in a country of over 23 million,” noted Roger L. Simon, senior political columnist for The Epoch Times.
“They are also a thriving democracy.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, has spread aggressively across the world, with a Johns Hopkins tally on April 14 showing more than 1.9 million infections globally. At the time of reporting, the number of fatalities attributed to the virus worldwide stood at 125,196.
The lack of any new cases of the virus in Taiwan and a death toll of just six are the latest signs that the island’s approach to the outbreak has paid off.
Taiwan has won praise from health experts for how it has fought the virus. The self-governing island, which isn’t part of the World Health Organization (WHO), started screening arrivals from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, as early as Dec. 31, the same day it found out about what was then a mysterious new respiratory illness.
By Jan. 5, anyone who had traveled to Wuhan in the previous 14 days was screened.
Then on Jan. 26, Taiwan became the first country to ban flights to and from Wuhan, before eventually banning all Chinese visitors on Feb. 6.
“The effectiveness of the Taiwanese response is all the more impressive given that it’s not a member of the World Health Organization,” wrote Young Kim, a former state assemblywoman and current Republican nominee for California’s 39th Congressional District, in an op-ed for The Epoch Times.
“Beijing has always rejected Taiwan’s membership as part of its decades-long policy of attempting to isolate it and diminishing its legal autonomy,” Kim added.
Taiwan has accused the WHO of ignoring its questions about the virus at the start of the outbreak, and stated it wasn’t given information about the pathogen, including whether there was human-to-human transmission.
Still, despite the low number of COVID-19 infections in Taiwan, restrictions remain in place, such as compulsory 14-day quarantines for all arrivals onto the island.
Taiwan hasn’t gone into total lockdown because of the virus, and life has continued relatively normally, though the government has promoted social distancing and mandated the wearing of masks on public transport.
Reuters contributed to this report.