It seems that China is left all alone in its pursuit of zero covid, as Taiwan is leaving the public health “strategy” behind them and are moving into a more flexible system.
Since the beginning of the covid pandemic in 2020, Taiwan kept up with some of the harshest border restrictions in the world, along with New Zealand, who had its border closed to everyone except citizens and permanent residents – and that was if you could even book a flight or book into the government’s MIQ.
Taiwan decided to ditch the zero covid policy after the omicron variant sent cases through the roof and have now relaxed some restrictions, allowing people who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms to stay home and self-isolate and they reduced the number of days required in managed isolation for travelers.
“We are now moving from zero Covid to the path of coexisting with the virus,” Chen Shih-Chung, Taiwan’s health minister.
Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University and a former policy adviser to Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Administration said, “Even though their response has been a bit slow, they have responded to these voices and to scientific evidence.”
Taiwanese health officials are shifting resources to focus on protecting the most vulnerable in society – which is what they should have done from the beginning. However, they are still pushing that people should get vaccinated.
Officials have said that most cases now in Taiwan are either asymptomatic or come with mild symptoms.
Taiwan also needed to reopen for business, as the rest of the world is now reopening, they will be left behind if they are not back up and running again.
China on the other hand, is continuing to lock down one of its largest cities – Shanghai and the results are disastrous for the people who reside there. Starvation and suicide now plague the city, as the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) – are hell bent on pursing the “zero covid” policy by hook or by crook.
Shanghai residents were arbitrarily locked down and starved in the pursuit of “protecting the health of citizens” – the irony.
In Taiwan, there may be reluctance to move into less restrictive policies, however, as the citizens are still quite fearful of covid, but most are ready to get back to their everyday lives.
A human resources manager who resides in New Taipei City, Chen Yan-sheng, was fearful at first when he was confirmed to be covid positive, but since then, several of his own friends got it too and the symptoms were mild or non-existent. He was wary of easing restrictions but has since changed his mind.
“I think living with the virus is inevitable,” Mr. Chen said. “It’s only a matter of time before we all get it.”
Taiwan is also trying to distance itself from having similar policies as the Communist Chinese and would rather balance the needs of public health in tandem with an individual’s rights and the healthy functioning of society.