French TV stations highlight Taiwan’s anti-COVID-19 experience

The Eiffel Tower in Paris after France's lockdown measures in March. (CNA file photo)

PARIS (CNA) — Taiwan’s approach to fighting the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been featured in stories done by two French television channels the past two days.

On Saturday, TF1, the leading television channel in France, ran a story on why Taiwan has been successful in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, reporting fewer than 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus to date and only six deaths.

Reporter Anne-Claire Coudray said Taiwan began preparing to fend off the virus on Dec. 31, 2019 after a health official saw a message on the PTT bulletin board warning that some patients in Wuhan exhibited signs of an unidentified type of pneumonia.

The Central Epidemic Command Center was then activated in January and adopted some 100 precautionary measures without imposing a total lockdown, the report said.

One sign of the relative normality of life in Taiwan was the start of the baseball season, the first to open anywhere in the world at a time when major sports events have been sidelined by the virus, according to the report.

A day earlier, Strasbourg-based ARTE, a Franco-German free-to-air television network, aired a 24-minute German-French bilingual special report on the same topic.

The report focused on a Taiwanese flight attendant stationed in Singapore who lost her job and was returning home to live with her parents.

It shows the virus-related procedures she had to go through after arriving at the airport and the fact she had to be isolated alone for 14 days, while also highlighting the precautions people not in quarantine take, such as wearing masks and disinfecting one’s hands.

It concluded that Taiwan’s proactive approach and experience in fighting past diseases has helped keep the number of cases down.