With the gradual, worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, many look back to where it all began, wondering when life will return to normal.
As the virus continues to wreak havoc in its second year around the sun, foreign media reflect on precisely what Britain, an island just like Taiwan, did wrong in its virus-prevention response.
According to an article published in The Guardian, the authors first listed various similarities between both countries, including both being ruled by a democratic government, both are islands, both have large populations living in crowded cities with medical care that is accessible.
The article pointed out that Taiwan’s main reason to ride out the pandemic relatively unscathed is primarily rooted in the approach the government took.
In comparing both countries’ government responses, the article states that Britain made the disastrous decision to treat the pandemic like the flu and limit its spread instead of stamping it out.
On the other hand, Taiwan built on its past experience dealing with the 2003 SARS outbreak, and border control was immediately in place, effectively limiting the number of cases.
The article quoted Jay Patel, a Covid-19 researcher at Edinburgh, who stated that Britain mainly focused on “preventing the number of cases to exceed what the healthcare capacity could handle,” while Taiwan was focused on “eliminating” the virus entirely.
The Taiwanese government’s quick realization of the seriousness of the COVID-19 threat was lauded by many. Though the country was barred from the WHO, the Guardian notes that Taiwan did try to raise the alarm internationally about the possibility of fast transmission between humans.
The article concluded that “there was nothing stopping the British government […] from learning from [Taiwan] in the intervening years, ” but ultimately, the “UK chose to follow its own deadly path instead.”