April 20, 2024

Coronavirus special

Most of today’s newsletter is devoted to the coronavirus outbreak. Send us some feedback.

Two countries at the epicentre of the outbreak are particularly interesting in their response to the crisis. Taiwan has reported 50 cases and one death. Even though it is so close to China, Korea and Japan, it has the lowest incidence rate per capita in the world at the moment — around 1 in every 500,000 people.

The measures Taiwan has taken have been extraordinarily effective – and apparently ignored by the international community. Why? Because Taiwan is not a member of the World Health Organization. It was forced out by the People’s Republic of China for longstanding historical and political reasons. Now the rest of the world is paying the price for WHO’s weakness.  

As an op-ed in USA Today argues, Taiwan ought to be admitted to the WHO, even it if puts China’s nose out of joint. “Pandemics don’t care about human politics,” says Mia Ping-Chieh Chen.

The other country is North Korea. “The infectious disease did not flow into our country yet,” says a government newspaper. That is an astonishing achievement – no cases, no deaths. It’s better by far than Taiwan.

Michael Cook
Why haven’t you heard much about Taiwan?