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Covid-19 in Taiwan and Singapore Suddenly Rise, After Almost Zero Cases

TAIPEI, KOMPAS.com – Singapore and Taiwan have been lauded as success stories in tackling the coronavirus, two places with almost zero or only single digit Covid-19 cases since the start of the year.

But this month, both Singapore and Taiwan experienced a sudden and aggressive increase in Covid-19 cases. Singapore recorded 248 new cases last week, and Taiwan 1,200 local cases of infection.

The two have each implemented increasingly stringent restrictive policies, limiting the number of meetings and closing schools.

By world standards these numbers may seem small, but for these two regions they were unthinkable a few months ago.

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There is clearly a sense of self -satisfaction in Taiwan

Taiwan was one of the first countries to ban foreign visits not long after China reported the emergence of the coronavirus. Strict border restrictions still apply in the country.

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But at the local level, people are starting to become complacent, as has been done by the Taiwanese government, as quoted from BBC Indonesia on Friday (21/5/2021).

Hospitals have stopped aggressive testing of citizens for Covid-19, even those with fever, a common symptom of the coronavirus, according to Associate Professor Lin Hsien-ho of National Taiwan University.

According to the online publication Our World in Data, Taiwan carried out only 0.57 Covid-19 tests per 1,000 people in mid-February, compared to Singapore which carried out 6.21 tests and Britain 8.68 during around the same period.

“There is a general assumption, even for people who show symptoms, that they are unlikely to be exposed to Covid-19,” Dr Lin told BBC, adding that it stems from the belief that Covid-19 will not be able to cross Taiwan’s strong borders.

“Doctors don’t take it seriously, hospitals aren’t vigilant, they don’t do a lot of contact tracing. There’s definitely a sense of complacency,” he explained.


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