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Taiwan marks 200 days without domestic Covid-19 infection

 Taiwan marks 200 days without domestic Covid-19 infection


Taiwan has reached 200 days without any domestically transmitted cases of Covid-19, underlining its success in keeping the virus under control as cases surge in other parts of the world.

The country’s Center for Disease Control last reported a domestic case on 12 April. CDC officials thanked the public for playing a role in reaching the milestone, while urging people to continue to wear masks and wash their hands often.

Taiwan has recorded 553 cases of Covid-19 and just seven deaths since the pandemic began. While it has stopped domestic transmission, it continues to record new cases in people arriving from abroad.

The country has has been praised for its successful response to the pandemic, especially considering its close business and tourism ties with China, where the virus first emerged late last year. Globally, more than 44 million cases have been reported and 1.1 million deaths.

Questions remain as to whether Taiwan is truly free of coronavirus. Local media have been paying close attention to reports of people who tested positive after leaving the country.

Authorities received notice from Japanese and Thai health authorities on Wednesday that three people who had recently left the country tested positive.

Taiwan’s success has been attributed in part to its swift response to the global outbreak. Officials were checking passengers on flights from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic began, as early as 31 December for fever and pneumonia symptoms, according to researchers writing in JAMA, a medical journal.

On 20 January the government formally initiated the Central Epidemic Command Center to coordinate its response between various departments and branches.

It also communicated effectively the importance of wearing masks, while trying to prevent panic buying and price gouging by rationing them.

The country was quick to tighten its borders, suspending flights from Wuhan on 23 January and banning the entry of Chinese nationals who resided in the city. Taiwan has a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals, whether Taiwanese or foreign.

Professionals with technical expertise led the Covid-19 response and messaging, including the former vice-president Chen Chien-jen, who is an epidemiologist.

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