Taiwan holds the world’s best virus record by far and reached the new landmark on Thursday, even as the pathogen explodes anew in Europe and the US. Taiwan’s last local case came on April 12; there has been no second wave.
What did this island with 23 million people do right? It has had 550 confirmed cases, with only seven deaths. Experts say closing borders early and tightly regulating travel have gone a long way toward fighting the virus. Other factors include rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing. Further, Taiwan’s deadly experience with SARS has scared people into compliance.
“Taiwan is the only major country that has so far been able to keep community transmission of Covid eliminated,” said Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician and professor at the Australian National University Medical School. Taiwan “probably had the best result around the world,” he said, and it’s “even more impressive” for an economy with a population about the same size as Australia’s, with many people living close to one another in apartments.