Taiwan Shows America the Way Forward

U.S. could learn from the country close to China that avoided the pandemic
By James Gorrie
James Gorrie
James Gorrie
James R. Gorrie is the author of “The China Crisis” (Wiley, 2013) and writes on his blog, TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.
April 18, 2020Updated: May 6, 2020


As Americans across the country begin to resist the draconian lockdowns, there’s significant evidence that they’re correct in their protests. Fortunately, it looks like several governors and President Donald Trump agree with them.

So does Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Model Works

Taiwan has proven that mass lockdowns aren’t necessary to minimize or even eliminate infections.

Even though it’s in close proximity to China and has deep economic ties with the mainland, with more than 2 million travelers there in 2019, the island nation has managed almost complete avoidance of the CCP virus (commonly known as the novel coronavirus) infection.

In fact, Taiwan has been able to avoid an across-the-board lockdown, and hasn’t had a new case in more than a month. Many schools, offices, restaurants, and cafes have remained open.

This astonishing achievement should have been big news months ago, and even now, but it’s not.

Why is that?

Only Six Deaths in a Nation of 23 Million

One would think that the one nation that has had by far the most success protecting its population from this global pandemic—fewer than 400 cases and only six deaths—would be studied and emulated by the rest of the world with great urgency.

They obviously knew what to do right away.

But Taiwan is scarcely mentioned in news reports, and if it is, usually only in passing or referenced with other nations. To be fair, NPR and a few others have reported on it, but that country’s success could be the key to stopping the pandemic without stopping our economy.

You may recall, however, that I wrote about Taiwan’s protocols in this column more than a month ago, on March 16. I didn’t cover every step the Taiwanese government took, of course, because, according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they implemented more than 124 of them.

But there are some key steps to take that are straightforward and effective. I wrote that those “Taiwan protocols” are, for the most part, simple and easily emulated.

Early Testing of Wuhan Travelers

One of the first steps Taipei took after Beijing told the World Health Organization (WHO) that it was seeing pneumonia cases of unknown origins, was to order inspections of people arriving from Wuhan. That was on Dec. 31, 2019.

Taiwan knew from long experience that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lies about and distorts any facts that put it in a negative light, and that it was lying to its people and the world about the outbreak. That’s why Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned WHO in a December email about the human-to-human transmission of the virus. But WHO ignored the Taiwan CDC’s warning and mouthed the CCP’s official story of lies instead.

Then, a travel ban to and from China was put in place in early February. Like Trump, Taiwan was condemned by the WHO for doing so.

Furthermore, those returning from China were quarantined for 14 days. Taipei used tracking technology on smartphones to ensure that people obeyed their quarantine orders. That, of course, isn’t something that would be very popular in the United States, but it did help.

Just as importantly, contacts of those quarantined were also tracked and quarantined if they became symptomatic. Those quarantined were paid around $30 per day.

Quick Response Mask Production Plan

At the same time, Taiwan ceased all exportation of medical masks. They were criticized at the time for doing so, but that helped provide a much-needed supply on hand for all citizens. Taiwan’s authorities also added 60 production lines, which took less than a month to set up.

Since then, masks have been and remain mandatory and plentiful for everyone. In fact, today, Taiwan is providing millions of masks and medical supplies to the hardest-hit countries in Europe and elsewhere in its global “Taiwan Can Help” initiative.

Checking for Fevers Everywhere

Additionally, every person entering a café, office, or other public place had their temperature taken. If a fever was detected, they were denied entry. And everyone’s hands were sanitized at entry points prior to being allowed entry to a shop or café.

Think about that for a moment. Taiwan has beaten the pandemic with a minimal disruption of its society and an enviably low death rate. All this was accomplished with minimal lockdowns, no lost school year, fewer closed businesses, less damage to their economy, and only minimal trespass on civil rights.

And yet, Taiwan was one of the first nations to be exposed to the CCP virus outside of China.

What does that mean for the United States’ economically disastrous lockdown and now, its reopening?

We Can Do Better

It means that we can do much, much better than we are now. We don’t need manufactured masks, we can make them ourselves. We can self-quarantine ourselves if needed; we’ve been doing so for more than a month. We can take temperatures and sanitize hands just as well as anybody else.

What’s more, we don’t have to have tests to end the lockdown or to preserve our way of life. Taiwan certainly didn’t rely on testing to protect their people and its economy.

What we must do is initiate Taiwan’s protocols across the country as soon as possible. That goes beyond masks for everyone, even though that’s critical. It also includes checking for fevers, sanitizing hands everywhere several times a day, and quarantining those who are symptomatic for 14 days. In the meantime, reopen businesses, especially those in low-rise buildings that don’t have multiple stories and elevators.

Additional sanitizing procedures would also likely be needed to ensure that premises are and remain disinfected. In fact, that may become a growth industry in itself. Remote workers may have to remain remote for another few weeks, but on the whole, there’s no reason that we can’t follow Taiwan’s example and get our economy moving forward again within a couple of weeks.

Don’t Believe the CCP’s Lies

The key point is that Taipei did not accept Beijing’s lies as the truth, nor did they believe the WHO’s lies. Taiwan knew better, and we should, too.

Taiwan took the right steps to protect its people regardless of outside criticism. Because it provided for its own safety first, Taiwan is now showing the world the way forward, and helping it get there.

America’s reopening needs to happen as soon and as safely as possible. We should follow Taiwan’s lead.

James Gorrie is author of “The China Crisis” and the blog TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.