Life in Taiwan under the Pandemic

Viola Yu Wing Hei (’90)

The COVID-19 pandemic derails the lives of many around the world.  Taiwan is one of the few places that the effect of the pandemic is minimal.  Many credited that to the quick responses of the government officials.  Medical masks and rubbing alcohol sales were managed by the government.  Mask wearing was a must in many settings, for example, hospitals, religious gatherings, MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), trains, supermarkets, etc.  Press conferences by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) were held daily for at least three months.  Press release from the CECC is still going on daily via Facebook, LINE and Twitter.  People in Taiwan are kept updated on the news of the pandemic.

Effective Control Measures

I am a speech-language pathologist at a university hospital, where quite a few adaptations have been made since January.  Everyone, staff and patient alike, is required to take his body temperature and sanitize his hands upon entering the hospital.  All patients need to fill out TOCC (Travel, Occupation, Contact, Cluster) consent forms.  Many patients have stopped coming to the hospital for therapies.  Student interns postpone or change their internship plans.  Government policies prevent all medical staff from going abroad, either for leisure or for business.

Winter break was extended for two weeks for school children from primary to high school.  Schools started at the end of February.  Most colleges and universities did not resume until March.  All students were required to take their body temperature before going to school each day until May.  Mask wearing was also recommended in the classroom, both at school and cram school, at all times except during lunch.

Apart from the changes mentioned above, we are fortunate in Taiwan that life goes on as normal (mostly).  We are able to dine out at restaurants, go on domestic trips, work at the office, attend church gatherings or school…  We heard that many people elsewhere had to work from home, or attend their worship or school lessons online.  We are hopeful yet cautious towards overcoming the pandemic.

I pray that God have mercy on His people.  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14). 

Clinicians are “equipped” with goggles, face masks and protective gowns at the hospital
“Name-Based Masks Distribution System” (a rationing system) in Taiwan