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Taiwan’s exclusion from the Coronavirus crisis

Royalty free picture - Taiwan

The Coronavirus Crisis has arisen many global issues such as the crisis management, the importance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) but also the geopolitical tensions between some countries. An example would be the role and importance of Taiwan which have fed a polemic since the beginning of the crisis.

The island of 23.7 million inhabitant confirmed only a few hundred cases and 5 fatalities (April 9th) even though the state is 180km away from the south-eastern coast of mainland China, epicentre of the pandemic. But how can that be when some western countries have confirmed thousands of cases across the world?

Nowadays, Taiwan’s health care is considered as one of the most efficient one. The National Health Insurance (NHI) was instituted in 1995 and promises equal access to healthcare for all citizens. 99% of the population are insured and it costs only 6% of the national GDP compared to 9.6% in the UK and 18% in the US. Nonetheless Taiwan has been excluded from all participation of the WHO meetings regardless the potential help Taiwan could provide. The main reason is the authority of China over the island.

In fact, the island’s political status remains uncertain. As the state is claimed by China, its international relations are broken down by the diplomatic pressure of the second largest economy in the world. In 1971, Taiwan left the United Nations as China joined the Organisation excluding it from all the UN agencies (WHO, UNESCO…) and decreasing its bargaining power.

The current exclusion of Taiwan is considered as a great loss for the medical community as the treatment of those infected and restrictions are successful. Taiwan imposed fines, announced a temporary ban on the export of face masks for a month on 24 January to secure a supply of masks for its own citizens which was extended to the end of April. On March 5th, quotas were imposed: adults were permitted to buy three masks weekly, and the children's quota was raised to five. But no lockdown has been decided as the politician Chen shih-chung said: "We would seek not to have to seal the country off while we are able to prevent and control the outbreak", thanks to the discipline and liability of the citizens who understood the seriousness of the situation.

This crisis tackles a more global issue: the political status and the exclusion of the island on the international scene. As the island became a role model many believe it could bring a lot to other countries on countless fields.

DC’s main goal is to decode encrypted news for an enlightened citizen

Lucie Lebert, UK President



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