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In Taiwan, there is talk of a lockdown for the first time

In Taiwan, there is talk of a lockdown for the first time

There were 333 new cases of coronavirus on Monday in Taiwan, the independent island nation off the east coast of China, the highest number ever in the country of 24 million. Sunday 206 and Saturday 180 were, each time the largest increase known to that time. However, there were only 29 cases on Friday, and the rapid increase in the number of cases was over the weekend The authorities worryFor the first time since the start of the pandemic, it had to impose fairly strict restrictions for fear of not being able to contain the infection.

Taiwan is considered all over the world a model Managing the coronavirus epidemic, and since December 2019 there have been fewer than two thousand infections (including those that occurred at the end of last week) and 12 deaths due to COVID-19.

On the island until now it was never necessary to impose a lockdown, but the government has been in place for several days has increased The level of alert in some areas of the country, after the outbreak of the disease was discovered three weeks ago in a hotel where workers of China Airlines were staying to spend the quarantine period after traveling abroad.

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Many observers blamed the outbreak on the fact that quarantine days for airline employees were reduced from 5 to 3 in mid-April – a circumstance that partly explains the country’s general relaxation against the coronavirus, which has always seemed to be under control.

Vaccinations are also very late: so far only 0.8 percent of the population has received a dose of the vaccine, and many have not yet booked because they thought it was not necessary. But according to experts, the sudden rise in the number of injuries at the end of last week compared to previous days, is due to the recent mass tests.

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Most of the cases are concentrated in the north, between the capital, Taipei and New Taipei, a large and densely populated municipal area surrounding Taipei that gained city status in 2010: Together, they have a population of 6.5 million. In both, the alert level was raised to the third of the four possible levels: This means that the two cities are not yet closed, but there are several measures in place to contain the infection that has not yet been seen in Taiwan, such as the necessity to wear masks everywhere, And restrictions on people gathering and the closure of many shops.

Health Minister Chen Shih-zhong has announced distance learning for some classes and provided new guidelines to hospitals on priority use for cases with symptoms of COVID-19. Citizens were told to avoid unnecessary confrontations with other people and to travel. Restaurants can remain open for the time being, but only if they can enforce physical distancing and collect customer data to ensure that contacts of positive people can be traced. Cinemas and other venues, which have remained open for most of the pandemic, have been closed. The new restrictions are currently scheduled to run through May 28.

All these new contacts caused confusion about how to enforce rules and activities that could remain open, and caused panic in people who found themselves facing them for the first time: In recent days, he encountered Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen who had to plead with people not to overcrowded supermarkets. And not stocking up on basic necessities. For the first time in Taipei, there were photos of downtown streets empty, with shops closed, and some workers doing sanitation work.

People at a supermarket in Taipei, Taiwan on May 12th. (Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi / ZUMA Wire)

Taiwan has long been seen around the world as a good example of managing the epidemic due to the timing in which it has acted and the preparedness it has demonstrated. He immediately acted as if the new Coronavirus that was discovered at the end of 2019 was transmissible between humans: on December 31 it began to conduct checks on people coming from Wuhan and on January 24 completely closed the border with China, entering shortly after periods. Quarantine. For anyone coming from abroad, surpassing most other countries in the world.

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According to many observers, the experience of the SARS epidemic – another respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus – has helped Taiwan rapidly spread masks, isolate the infected, and track effective contact.

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