How Taiwan Plans to Stay (Mostly) Covid-Free

How Taiwan Plans to Stay (Mostly) Covid-Free

The island’s success against the coronavirus has created a sinking feeling for many residents: How much longer can their good fortune last?

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Consider for a moment, in this time of anguish and loss and death, of mass unemployment and flattened national economies, the Twilight Zone alternate reality that is Taiwan.

For months and months, life on the island has been, in a word, normal — spookily so. Weddings have been held, worry free. People have packed pro ball games, attended cello concerts and thronged night markets. Taiwan’s population is larger than Florida’s, but its Covid-19 death toll can be counted on two hands.

It is the kind of off-the-charts success against the virus that has created a sinking feeling in the stomachs of many residents: How much longer can the island’s good fortune last?

For Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s health minister and head of its epidemic command center, success is all the more reason not to waver on the bedrock of the government’s coronavirus strategy. The island has been sealed off to most visitors since March. People who are allowed to enter still have to quarantine under tight watch for two weeks, including Taiwanese citizens.