Barbra Streisand praises Taiwan for coronavirus control

Barbra Streisand (left, photo taken from facebook.com/barbrastreisand) and President Tsai Ing-wen (CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) — American singer and actress Barbra Streisand on Sunday praised Taiwan’s performance in controlling the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak despite the island’s geographical proximity to China, where the virus was first detected last year.

In a Twitter post, Streisand said “Taiwan, despite being just 100 miles from mainland China with regular flights to and from Wuhan, has successfully staved off the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The country has so far seen five deaths and just under 350 confirmed cases, and most schools and businesses remain open,” she tweeted.

However, as of Sunday afternoon, confirmed new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases had increased to 363, with the number of fatalities remaining at 5.

In another tweet, the artist, who has won numerous movie and musical awards, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2015, shared what she thought was Taiwan’s secret in managing the coronavirus crisis.

“How did Taiwan do it? ‘Aggressive action,’ says Dr. Jason Wang, the former project manager for Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Reform Task-force,” Streisand tweeted, adding that Wang is director of the Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention at Stanford University and associate professor of pediatrics and medicine.

Her tweet came with a 10-minute video clip from Democracy Now, an American independent new program, which interviewed Wang on Taiwan’s virus control measures.

In response, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) retweeted Streisand’s Twitter post Sunday evening, saying it is encouraging to have one of the world’s “most distinctive” voices speak up in support of Taiwan’s proactive approach to fighting the COVID19 outbreak.

“We are more than willing to share our experiences with friends around the world as well,” Tsai tweeted, followed by the hashtag #TaiwanCanHelp, a slogan signifying Taiwan’s willingness to contribute amid the coronavirus crisis.

On March 16, Puerto Rican singer and actor Ricky Martin also praised Taiwan for doing a good job in containing the coronavirus outbreak and called on leaders in America to learn from the Taiwanese people, whom he described as brothers.

Taiwan’s Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) has told foreign reporters how Taiwan managed to keep the number of COVID-19 cases relatively low compared with other countries. Among the critical measures taken were advance planning, quick information gathering, and a comprehensive health coverage system.