By Demion McTair. Updated 5:43 a.m., Sunday, 19 April 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – A Vincentian currently studying in Taiwan has explained why she believes Taiwan has not resorted to having a lock down amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zuleika Lewis said Saturday on One News SVGs Regional Link Up that “the atmosphere in Taiwan is basically prevention, precaution, being safe, keeping safe and, flattening the curve”.
Lewis said the country “has been on top of their game from the get go and they have been very transparent” and that she does not feel scared.
“They’ve been releasing the data. Unlike my Caribbean colleagues, I have not had a lock down. I am still going to school, I have regular classes. Taiwan is actually one of the countries in the world that still has face-to-face classes” – she added.
On the issue of the continuation of in-person classes, Lewis said measures have been put in place to address institutions that have Covid-19 cases.
“I know a fellow Vincentian of mine, she’s in an institution right now, a university that had one case and what the Ministry of Education did is that they closed that university and those persons are actually doing online classes. But, if your university does not have a case, then its school as normal for you” – she added.
Lewis also explained the daily measures that are taken by the country to protect the population.
Lewis said that when she arrives at school in a taxi “my taxi driver’s temperature is checked. When I get out of the taxi, my temperature would be checked and I would be stamped. Let’s say I washed my hands all day and there is no stamp and if they see me, they would check me again”.
“If I go to my work place, my temperature is checked, if I go to the bank, my temperature is checked, if I go to any mall, any institution, sometimes, if you are going in the bus your temperature is checked and you are allowed to go in” – Lewis added.
Lewis said she believes that the wearing of masks by persons in public in Taiwan has contributed also to the country’s low covid-19 count.
“One of the things that Taiwan has also implemented from the get go is the wearing of face masks. Now, it may be a culture shock for persons who come from the West to the East and you would see persons just wearing masks everyday. There may be a number of reasons why they do this. For example, maybe bad air quality, they might have a pimple on their face that they’re self-conscious about.
So, when the pandemic broke, Taiwan was basically saying let’s up our production in masks and so, everybody was wearing the mask and I think this may be one of the reasons why Taiwan’s cases are so low.
So now, persons are turning you away if you are not wearing a mask. You can’t go into restaurants, you can’t go into the mall if you don’t have a mask” – Lewis said.
The final-year student said there are a number of avenues to access masks in Taiwan including vending machines for masks.
On April 2, in St Vincent, Taiwan’s Ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Calvin Ho had expressed a similar view saying that the wearing of masks “could be one of the reasons” that Covid-19 cases in Taiwan “are limited”.
Located about two and a half hours from China where the first outbreak of the novel coronavirus was recorded, Taiwan has somehow managed to keep their case count of the virus low, when compared to other countries.
With a population of 23.78 million people, Taiwan, up to press time had recorded 398 confirmed covid-19 cases, 178 recoveries and 6 deaths. Some 51,603 people had been tested.
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