Abstract

This paper illustrates Taiwan's experience in controlling the virus and curbing the impact of COVID-19 on its economy. All the following factors contributed to Taiwan's early success in fighting COVID-19: the early establishment of a command center, the “precision-prevention” model of strategies that includes tight border controls and strict quarantine policy, the procuring of sufficient anti-pandemic medical supplies, and educating residents about public health awareness (e.g., promoting face mask wearing in public, maintaining proper social distance, and handwashing procedures). In addition, the country's medical facilities and a national health insurance program that are already in place along with the utilization of technology and big data also played a crucial role during the pandemic. Taiwan's success story may open up opportunities for the country to assume a leading role as a facilitator in the reallocation of the global supply chain and the creation of a new worldwide health coalition that includes Taiwan, unlike its lonely efforts 17 years ago when SARS hit the Southeast Asian and Pacific regions.

1.  Introduction

As COVID-19 continues to rage and spread in countries around the globe, Taiwan has only 486 confirmed cases and 7 deaths, compared with the 22,067,280 confirmed cases and 777,674 deaths globally as of 18 August 2020 when the infection rate was 20 cases per million, as shown in Table 1. Taiwan has been recognized as one of the most successful nations fighting against the virus along with New Zealand and Vietnam. Due to the close economic and geographic ties between Taiwan and China, these low figures were impressive, which has gained Taiwan widespread acknowledgment and respect from all countries. Several months after the COVID-19 outbreak in January, Taiwan remains a relatively safe place without painful lockdowns, unlike elsewhere in the world.

Table 1.

The global COVID-19 situation: Taiwan and selected countries

CountryConfirmedDeathsInfection rate per million
Global 22,067,280 777,674 2,831 
United States 5,612,027 173,716 16,942 
Brazil 3,363,235 108,654 15,808 
India 2,706,450 51,955 1,959 
Russia 932,493 15,872 6,389 
UK 319,197 41,369 4,699 
German 217,281 9,261 2,592 
France 219,069 30,429 3,355 
Taiwan 486 7 20 
The Philippines 169,913 2,687 1,542 
Indonesia 141,370 6,207 516 
China 84,871 4,634 59 
Singapore 55,938 27 9,552 
Japan 55,667 1,099 440 
Korea 15,761 306 307 
Malaysia 9,212 125 284 
Hong Kong 4,525 69 603 
Thailand 3,381 58 48 
Vietnam 983 25 10 
Australia 23,773 438 931 
New Zealand 1,643 22 328 
CountryConfirmedDeathsInfection rate per million
Global 22,067,280 777,674 2,831 
United States 5,612,027 173,716 16,942 
Brazil 3,363,235 108,654 15,808 
India 2,706,450 51,955 1,959 
Russia 932,493 15,872 6,389 
UK 319,197 41,369 4,699 
German 217,281 9,261 2,592 
France 219,069 30,429 3,355 
Taiwan 486 7 20 
The Philippines 169,913 2,687 1,542 
Indonesia 141,370 6,207 516 
China 84,871 4,634 59 
Singapore 55,938 27 9,552 
Japan 55,667 1,099 440 
Korea 15,761 306 307 
Malaysia 9,212 125 284 
Hong Kong 4,525 69 603 
Thailand 3,381 58 48 
Vietnam 983 25 10 
Australia 23,773 438 931 
New Zealand 1,643 22 328 

Source:Worldmeter, Policy Research Indicator Database (updated until 18 August 2020).

When the first outbreak in China happened in January, the Taiwan government quickly responded by introducing strict quarantine measures, exercising health monitoring procedures, and immediately instituting contact tracing of infected individuals at the border. Public awareness of the protocols of social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing have been credited as the reason behind the lack of a large-scale spread in the local community. Taiwan's earlier detection and aggressive responses tended to be better than those in other countries. The government's prudent and immediate response is characterized by the term “advanced deployment” (chāoqián bù shǔ). Taiwan is one of the few places in the world that allows its citizens to have a near-normal life in the pandemic—for instance, citizens can work and attend school. This paper aims to describe Taiwan's experiences in controlling the virus and also indicate and explain the impacts of COVID-19 on Taiwan's economy. Section 2 illustrates the overall trend and development of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan. Section 3 lists the factors that have helped Taiwan keep COVID-19 under control so far. The impact of COVID-19 on Taiwan's economy will be discussed in Section 4. Section 5 summarizes the lessons and concludes.

2.  COVID-19 in Taiwan: Evolution and trends

2.1  The current situation in Taiwan

Taiwan has accumulated 481 confirmed cases and 7 deaths as of 13 August 2020. Table 2 summarizes the current profile of Taiwan confirmed COVID-19 cases. Among these 481 confirmed cases, 55 (11.43 percent) are local cases, 36 (7.48 percent) are Navy fleet–related, and 390 (81.08 percent) are of foreign origin. Among the 426 non-local cases, the top three countries are the United States, the UK, and the Philippines.1 Most non-local cases are Taiwanese citizens who traveled and entered the Taiwanese border from highly affected countries; noticeably, among the surge of 32 new foreign immigrant cases in July, 20 were from the Philippines, which is currently experiencing a rapid second wave of COVID-19.

Table 2.
The profiles of Taiwan's COVID-19 confirmed cases
CategorySubcategoryNumberPercentage
Origin Local 55 11.43 
 Foreign 390 81.08 
 Navy fleet 36 7.48 
Sex Male 246 51.14 
 Female 235 48.85 
Symptom With 399 82.95 
 Without 58 12.05 
 Uncertain 24 4.98 
Age, years <20 25 5.19 
 20–40 279 58 
 40–60 108 22.45 
 60+ 69 14.34 
Region Greater Taipei Area 27 49.09 
 North 44 80 
 Central 10 18.18 
 South 1.81 
 East 
 Others 
CategorySubcategoryNumberPercentage
Origin Local 55 11.43 
 Foreign 390 81.08 
 Navy fleet 36 7.48 
Sex Male 246 51.14 
 Female 235 48.85 
Symptom With 399 82.95 
 Without 58 12.05 
 Uncertain 24 4.98 
Age, years <20 25 5.19 
 20–40 279 58 
 40–60 108 22.45 
 60+ 69 14.34 
Region Greater Taipei Area 27 49.09 
 North 44 80 
 Central 10 18.18 
 South 1.81 
 East 
 Others 

Source:CDC Taiwan, and author's summary updated to 13 August 2020.

Note:Greater Taipei Area includes Taipei City, New Taipei City and Keelung City. The North includes Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, Miaoli County, and Greater Taipei Area. The Central area covers Taichung City, Changhua County and Nanto County. South Area includes Yunlin County, Chiayi City, Chiayi County, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, and Pingtung County. The East includes Yilan County, Hualien and Taitung County. Others includes Kinmen County, Lienchiang County, and Penghu County.

In terms of symptoms, there are 399 cases (83 percent) with symptoms, 82 asymptomatic cases (12 percent), and 24 uncertain cases (5 percent). There are 246 male cases (51 percent) and 235 female cases (49 percent). The age distribution is as follows: there are 25 cases (15 percent) in those younger than 20 years of age, 279 cases (58 percent) for the 20–40 years age group, 108 (22 percent) for the 40–60 years age group, and 69 cases (14 percent) for those aged 60 years and older. The young and middle-age cohorts account for 80 percent of total cases for all ages. Figure 1 further shows the infection rates for the different age groups in Taiwan. The highest infection rate occurs in the 20–24 age group (6.98 per 100,000). The higher infection rate in the younger age cohort is consistent with most countries’ experiences, since young people tend to overlook the COVID-19 threat.2 Younger people perceive that they are stronger and can recuperate easily if infected by the virus, thus their wide participation in social events without social distancing or wearing face masks, thereby increasing their risk factor.
Figure 1.
The COVID-19 age-group infection rate per 100,000 in Taiwan
Figure 1.
The COVID-19 age-group infection rate per 100,000 in Taiwan

When we look at the regional distribution for all 55 local confirmed cases, 44 come from the north (including 27 cases from the Greater Taipei Area), 10 cases from the central area, 1 from the south, and zero cases from the east. Almost 80 percent are from the north, with cases from the Greater Taipei Area alone accounting for almost half of the total number of local cases. Both the north and Greater Taipei Area are more populated compared with other parts of Taiwan. The lesser-populated east and other islands (Kinmen, Matsu, and Penghu) have no reports of confirmed cases yet.

Figure 2 shows the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases, recovered individuals, deaths, and active trends starting from late January to early August for Taiwan. The active case curve reached its peak around the end of March and started to decline and remained stable after late May. It indicates that Taiwan had successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve. According to the standard S-E-I-R (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) model of the epidemic, if the effective reproduction number R(t) is less than 1, an infectious person will, on average, transmit to fewer than one other susceptible person. This will lead to a decline in active cases in the population, hence a flatter curve. Good hygienic behaviors—such as wearing face masks, avoiding crowded places or unnecessary group gatherings, improving personal hygiene protections, and timely border control—are the main factors that have helped Taiwan keep the effective reproduction number low. Figure 3 shows that Taiwan was among the few countries to have successfully flatten the COVID-19 infection curve at an early stage, along with Vietnam, New Zealand, and South Korea. Japan's rising curve since late June indicates a possible second-wave outbreak.
Figure 2.
COVID-19 confirmed cases, recovered cases, active cases, and deaths in Taiwan
Figure 2.
COVID-19 confirmed cases, recovered cases, active cases, and deaths in Taiwan
Figure 3.
COVID-19 active cases: Taiwan, New Zealand, and neighboring Asian countries

Note:HK = Hong Kong; TW = Taiwan; NZ = New Zealand; VN = Vietnam; KR = South Korea; JP = Japan.

Figure 3.
COVID-19 active cases: Taiwan, New Zealand, and neighboring Asian countries

Note:HK = Hong Kong; TW = Taiwan; NZ = New Zealand; VN = Vietnam; KR = South Korea; JP = Japan.

2.2  Key dates since the first reported outbreak in Taiwan

Informed by its previous experience with SARS, Taiwan responded weeks earlier than other governments by screening arrivals from China and then closing its borders to travelers coming from China, despite its close economic linkage with China. Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control immediately ordered the testing and tracing of all passengers who had returned from Wuhan when China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that it had several cases of an unknown pneumonia on 31 December 2019.

Government statistics indicate that more than 1 million Taiwanese live or work in China and travelers between Taiwan and China numbered about 10 million annually during the 2016–18 period, including travelers through the “three mini links.”3 There were thousands of regular cross-strait flights every week before the outbreak. On 26 January, five days after its first confirmed case, Taiwan rapidly acted to ban all arrivals from Wuhan. It also substantially reduced the existing 50 flight routes between China and Taiwan and limited them only to five airports,4 only permitting Taiwanese nationals to enter the country. On 8 February, the government closed the “mini three links.” This quick decision of shutting down the majority of flights effectively reduced the possible spread from China in these early stages.

Being one of China's close neighbors with inseparable economic ties, Taiwan's situation looked dim and pessimistic when the first wave of COVID-19 infections started from China in January. China and Hong Kong account for nearly 40 percent of Taiwan's exports and over one-fifth of Taiwan's imports. China is also Taiwan's main overseas manufacturing production site. Based on Taiwan's close economic and transportation links with China, Johns Hopkins University predicted Taiwan could have the second highest risk behind Thailand among 23 high-risk countries in January after the initial outbreak in Wuhan. In reality, Taiwan only recorded a relatively low number of 486 confirmed cases out of its 23 million population as of 18 August 2020.

Table 3 summarizes the important dates for Taiwan in fighting COVID-19 since the January outbreak. A businesswoman who had returned from Wuhan was Taiwan's first confirmed case reported on 21 January. 21 July marked the 100th day without any new local cases for Taiwan, as shown in Table 4. The lack of any new local cases over the past 100 days indicates that there is no sign of community transmission in Taiwan.

Table 3.

Important dates for the COVID-19 response in Taiwan

DateIncident
2020/1/20 Establish the Central Epidemic Command Center (CEEC) 
2020/1/21 First confirmed case 
2020/2/6 “Name-based Mask Distribution System 1.0” was put in place 
2020/2/7 Expand border control; Cut cross-strait airlines from 50 lines to only four cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Chengdu 
2020/2/9 First asymptomatic confirmed case 
2020/2/10 Closure of the “mini three links” 
2020/2/16 First COVID-19 death (case number 19, a 60-year-old taxi driver) 
2020/2/25 First confirmed pediatric case reported involving an 11-year-old child 
2020/2/27 CECC upgrade from Level 1 of emergency administration to Level 1 
2020/3/5 Face-mask policy stage 1 
2020/3/6 First hospital gathering case 
2020/3/12 WHO officially announce COVID-19 is a pandemic; “Name-based Mask Distribution System 2.0” (using an online channel) was introduced 
2020/3/23 Quarantine compensation of NT$ 1,000 per day announced 
2020/3/24 No international airline transit through Taiwan 
2020/4/9 Mandated mask wearing requirement on public transportation; violation fine NT$ 3,000–15,000 
2020/4/11 Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season opening 
2020/4/12 The last new local confirmed case 
2020/4/14 With proper social distance, group gatherings allowed for a maximum of 100 persons indoors and 500 outdoors; the first date without any new confirmed case 
2020/4/18-2020/5/3 22 Navy fleet–related confirmed cases 
2020/4/22 “Name-based Mask Distribution System 3.0” (pre-purchasing at convenience stores) was introduced 
2020/5/8 CPBL game audience extended to allow 1000 persons 
2020/5/11 Indoor gatherings extended to allow 250 persons 
2020/5/12 The first month without any local case reported 
2020/7/21 The 100th day without any reported local case 
2020/7/26 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from the Philippines must undergo COVID-19 testing at airports and observe quarantine measures staring 26 July 2020 
2020/8/1 CECC request the wearing of masks at elevators, schools, movie theaters, study centers, and KTV loungers 
DateIncident
2020/1/20 Establish the Central Epidemic Command Center (CEEC) 
2020/1/21 First confirmed case 
2020/2/6 “Name-based Mask Distribution System 1.0” was put in place 
2020/2/7 Expand border control; Cut cross-strait airlines from 50 lines to only four cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Chengdu 
2020/2/9 First asymptomatic confirmed case 
2020/2/10 Closure of the “mini three links” 
2020/2/16 First COVID-19 death (case number 19, a 60-year-old taxi driver) 
2020/2/25 First confirmed pediatric case reported involving an 11-year-old child 
2020/2/27 CECC upgrade from Level 1 of emergency administration to Level 1 
2020/3/5 Face-mask policy stage 1 
2020/3/6 First hospital gathering case 
2020/3/12 WHO officially announce COVID-19 is a pandemic; “Name-based Mask Distribution System 2.0” (using an online channel) was introduced 
2020/3/23 Quarantine compensation of NT$ 1,000 per day announced 
2020/3/24 No international airline transit through Taiwan 
2020/4/9 Mandated mask wearing requirement on public transportation; violation fine NT$ 3,000–15,000 
2020/4/11 Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season opening 
2020/4/12 The last new local confirmed case 
2020/4/14 With proper social distance, group gatherings allowed for a maximum of 100 persons indoors and 500 outdoors; the first date without any new confirmed case 
2020/4/18-2020/5/3 22 Navy fleet–related confirmed cases 
2020/4/22 “Name-based Mask Distribution System 3.0” (pre-purchasing at convenience stores) was introduced 
2020/5/8 CPBL game audience extended to allow 1000 persons 
2020/5/11 Indoor gatherings extended to allow 250 persons 
2020/5/12 The first month without any local case reported 
2020/7/21 The 100th day without any reported local case 
2020/7/26 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from the Philippines must undergo COVID-19 testing at airports and observe quarantine measures staring 26 July 2020 
2020/8/1 CECC request the wearing of masks at elevators, schools, movie theaters, study centers, and KTV loungers 

Source: Author's own summary based on CECC released news.

Table 4.

Taiwan exports by commodity (unit: US$ 100 million)

201820192020 January–MayAnnual change (%)Structure of exports (%)
Total 3,340 3,292 1,309 1.5 100 
Electronic components 1,108 1,125 495 19.4 37.8 
Information and audiovideo products 353 426 176 9.5 13.5 
Basic metals 316 279 102 −11.7 7.8 
Machinery 256 235 88 −10.2 6.7 
Plastics, rubbers 253 226 82 −13.2 6.3 
Chemicals 222 187 69 −13.8 5.3 
Optical equipment 117 113 44 −0.4 3.4 
Minerals 145 140 38 −31.8 2.9 
Electrical machinery products 108 107 42 −4.6 3.2 
Transport equipment 112 113 41 −4.3 3.2 
Textile products
 
101 92 31 −20.7 2.4 
Others 250 249 99 0.5 7.6 
201820192020 January–MayAnnual change (%)Structure of exports (%)
Total 3,340 3,292 1,309 1.5 100 
Electronic components 1,108 1,125 495 19.4 37.8 
Information and audiovideo products 353 426 176 9.5 13.5 
Basic metals 316 279 102 −11.7 7.8 
Machinery 256 235 88 −10.2 6.7 
Plastics, rubbers 253 226 82 −13.2 6.3 
Chemicals 222 187 69 −13.8 5.3 
Optical equipment 117 113 44 −0.4 3.4 
Minerals 145 140 38 −31.8 2.9 
Electrical machinery products 108 107 42 −4.6 3.2 
Transport equipment 112 113 41 −4.3 3.2 
Textile products
 
101 92 31 −20.7 2.4 
Others 250 249 99 0.5 7.6 

Source:Department of Statistics, Ministry of Finance.

In terms of the government's response to the virus, people living in Taiwan could still enjoy free movement and public services. Schools, public transportation, offices, restaurants, and retail stores are open for domestic consumption as usual. Before entering all indoor working places and buildings, body temperatures are checked and hand sanitizers are sprayed upon request. The wearing of face masks while taking public transportation, taxis, and in closed confined spaces is compulsory.5 All group gatherings of more than 500 persons outdoors and 100 persons indoors have been cancelled on the advice of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).6 The CECC also recommends that people keep a distance from each other of at least 1.5 meters indoors and 1 meter outdoors.

3.  What factors enabled Taiwan to flatten the COVID-19 active curve earlier?

Under the severe threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the factors that enabled Taiwan to keep the virus under control and flatten the infection curve so successfully? On its official COVID-19 news website, Taiwan's government lists some key success factors behind its success including its previous SARS experience, a well-functioning central epidemic command center, transparent information, good resource allocation, timely border control, smart community transmission prevention, advanced medical technology, and the good etiquette of its citizens. As the virus spread globally, the Taiwan government responded quickly with simultaneous plans of disease prevention, industrial relief, and economic stimulus packages. Disease prevention focuses both on strict border controls and community prevention strategies. In this section, key measures by the Taiwan government are addressed in detail.

3.1  Timely establishment of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)

The CECC headed by Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung was established on 20 January to roll out a series of epidemic control measures. The CECC not only investigates confirmed and suspected cases, but also works with government ministries and local governments to coordinate the response across Taiwan, including allocating funds, mobilizing personnel, and advising on the disinfection of schools. The CECC adopted a “precision prevention” strategy that allocates the limited medical resources in Taiwan to the most high-need areas with the help of artificial intelligence technology to diagnose and trace possible cases. Taiwan's earlier and aggressive response to set up its command center with its philosophy of “advance deployment” (chāoqián bù shǔ) helped Taiwan to calm fears and boost public confidence in the government, which would turn out to be crucial in the future stages of combating the virus.

3.2  Border control and quarantine policy

According to Oxford's COVID-19 Policy Tracker data, Taiwan is one of the first few Asian countries to implement a strong travel ban. The rapid border control helped to reduce the influx of potentially infectious individuals from China in the early stage of the outbreak. Taiwan adjusted its border control policy differently depending on the risk levels of each country. All foreign countries had been categorized by Taiwan at the highest risk tier of Level 3 on 19 March 2020. Since then, all foreigners without a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) are prohibited from entering Taiwan. All returning Taiwanese citizens and foreigners with valid ARCs must follow health management procedures upon arrival at the airport. They are required to fill out a health declaration form at the customs checkpoint and then quarantine themselves for 14 days either at home or at a designated quarantine center at their own expense, but with partial government subsidy.7 Transport from the airport to the quarantine site of choice must be done by family members or a designated quarantine taxi.

All passengers must report any symptoms to health authorities during that 14-day period, while the location data on their cell phones is monitored to ensure that they comply with the quarantine requirements. Leaving their residences or shutting off their phones triggers an alert. Local authority officers will make phone calls twice a day to ensure that those quarantining are not circumventing the cell phone tracking by leaving their phones at home. Failure to report symptoms or to abide by the quarantine rules can lead to heavy fines.

3.3  Face mask policy

Face masks are the most important tool for Taiwanese residents to protect themselves and prevent the virus from propagation. The virus’s effective reproduction number R(t) will reduce substantially if the majority of the population wear face masks. Face masks were requisitioned and distributed by the government to guarantee the availability of supplies. To ensure the steady supply of masks, the government quickly banned manufacturers from exporting them, implemented a rationing system, and set the maximum price at just 16 cents each. (The ban on the exports of masks was eventually removed on 30 June.) A national committee was established to spearhead efforts for the production of general medical masks and surgical masks domestically. It quickly deployed 60 mask production lines that enabled daily mask production to be increased from 1.88 million to 19 million as of the end of April 2020.

Taiwan then utilized its National Health Insurance (NHI) system to facilitate the mask distribution for its residents. On 6 February, the “Name-Based Mask Distribution System 1.0” was implemented, which allowed citizens to purchase face masks in person from approximately 6,280 NHI-contracted pharmacies and 340 health centers with their national insurance cards. Citizens were assigned different dates according to the last digit of their national ID number to avoid long queues. Meanwhile, a mobile application was launched to help citizens purchase face masks more conveniently: The app contained a GPS-guided virtual map that would display store names, locations, opening hours, and contact information, even showing the available number of masks in stock at each store. The system was later upgraded in March to allow online purchases. From 22 April, citizens can order masks from more than 10,000 convenience stores using their NHI cards. The CECC also announced in July 2020 that the name-based mask distribution system would last until at least the end of the year to ensure sufficient masks are available for purchase.

Beside face masks, the government also kept tabs on the domestic demand of medical supplies. For example, it closely monitored the daily production and distribution of medical grade alcohol, and coordinated with Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation and Taiwan Sugar Corporation to increase production of alcohol for general consumers’ daily cleaning needs, as well as to meet the demand for medical use. Taiwan had successfully managed to not only sooth the irrational purchasing behaviors causing by fears of COVID-19 at the early stage, but also intervened successfully to ensure that supplies were sufficient to meet the rising demand.

3.4  Medical facilities and National Health Insurance

Taiwan is embedded with relatively abundant and affordable high-quality medical facilities. According to the 2019 edition of the CEOWORLD magazine Health Care Index, which ranks 89 countries based on factors that contribute to overall health, Taiwan was ranked number 1, above South Korea (second place) and Japan (third). With a population of 23 million, Taiwan is equipped with 1,150 negative-pressure wards, the third highest density in the world. All confirmed COVID-19 cases identified within the border, whether they are Taiwanese or foreigners, with severe or mild conditions, with or without symptoms, are all to be treated in hospital negative-pressure wards. Medical expenses of all confirmed patients are completely borne by the government. Taiwan's health insurance system, which covers 99 percent of the population, has been crucial to fighting the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

3.5  Transparent information

Since 21 January, the CECC holds a daily press conference for communication with the media and the public. In this press conference, the CECC announced the number of COVID-19 cases every day until 7 June, when there were no local confirmed cases reported for 56 consecutive days (four possible virus incubation periods). The daily press conference was later changed to a weekly press conference or done on an ad hoc basis whenever new cases occur. This open and transparent conference kept the public informed about the development of COVID-19 in Taiwan.

The timely and transparent press conferences help to mitigate people's worries and reduce uncertainty about the disease, thus improving public trust in government, which in turn, yields more public cooperation in fighting COVID-19. Besides these press briefings, the government also provided access to the NHI database for both public and private sectors. All current information about COVID-19 can be obtained via the Centers for Disease Control website, the regular CECC press conferences, the d-Referral platform, and the NHI Cloud system.

3.6  Technology use

Taiwan applied its artificial intelligence and big data technology not only to detect and track cases, but also to enforce and monitor the home quarantine process. Health care workers can use the NHI Cloud system to check a patient's travel history and determine whether a patient is potentially infected with COVID-19 based on the patient's symptoms, so that necessary patient diversion measures can be taken immediately. Medical institutions could also use the electronic referral platform to upload medical information of people under home quarantine to monitor infection conditions. This use of technology helped Taiwan to diagnose and track possible COVID-19 infections, as part of its so-called “precision prevention” strategy.

At the border, not only are temperature monitors installed, but all passengers also need to scan a QR code and report their travel history and health symptoms online. That data is then uploaded directly to Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control big data system. Within the community, the local health department established a process for medical diagnosis and treatment via telephone hotline so that people subject to home quarantine can call the local health bureau for assistance when they require medical attention. This telecare mechanism can also reduce the risk of community infections. The use of technology in Taiwan helped the government to quickly determine direct contacts of confirmed cases, test them, and then place them in home quarantine.

3.7  Public education and cooperation

The government asked television and radio stations to broadcast hourly public service announcements on how the virus is spread, the importance of washing hands properly, and when to wear a face mask. The government constantly encouraged citizens to develop good personal hygiene habits and maintain social distancing. Public cooperation in accommodating these new lifestyle habits for epidemic prevention as per the government's recommended measures was crucial to prevent the spread of the virus.

4.  COVID-19 economic impacts on Taiwan's economy

4.1  Overall economic impacts: Business, trade, economic growth

Taiwan's economic structure consists of roughly 60 percent service, 35 percent manufacturing, and a tiny agricultural industry.8 The service sector has been hit hard since the outbreak in January due to border controls and social distancing measures. Regarding the manufacturing sector, as an export-oriented economy, Taiwan is vulnerable to reduced global trade flows and recessions caused by lockdowns around the world. The weaker external demands and disruption of supply chains inevitably hurt Taiwan's exports and overall economy. The International Monetary Fund forecasted Taiwan's GDP growth to contract (4 percent) less than other advanced economies (6 percent) in 2020. On the contrary, the government and private sector institutions expect positive growth for Taiwan.9 In fact, Taiwan had achieved a 1.59 percent GDP growth for the first quarter in 2020 and –0.73 percent for the second quarter. In the second quarter, a simultaneous decrease for all expenditure components except an increase in capital formation led to the fall in GDP growth rate.10 The rise in capital formation may have come from returning Taiwan businesses from China due to the ongoing U.S.–China trade dispute. U.S. dollar depreciation may also be another reason.

Taiwan's GDP growth rate was only hit mildly by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its growth performance puts Taiwan ahead of the largest economies in the world, which have suffered more from the pandemic. Chiang11 shows that the impact of COVID-19 on Taiwan's economy is restrained compared with other countries that have recorded larger contractions: Singapore (−2.2 percent), EU (−2.7 percent), United States (−4.8 percent), China (−6.8 percent), and Hong Kong (−8.9 percent) for the first quarter in 2020.

Taiwan's exports sailed through the storm without much impact despite the decline in global demand due to the pandemic. The strengthening export performance on electronic components, electronics, and optical instruments even outweighed the downward spiral of overall global demand and the appreciation of the NT dollar for the past two quarters. Table 4 shows that exports of electronic components and information and audiovideo products reached 19.4 percent and 9.5 percent increases, respectively, from January to May 2020 compared with 2019. These two categories, added up, account for more than half of Taiwan's total exports.

According to the Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in March 2020, Taiwan along with China and India experienced expansion, while the United States, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Eurozone, South Korea, and Vietnam fell into contraction.12 It seems that the pandemic had little impact on Taiwan's manufacturing industry so far. Manufacturing activities in Taiwan have maintained normalcy, even receiving some orders transferred from other countries trapped by lockdowns. Table 5 summarizes the performance of the selected manufacturing subsectors in Taiwan. The overall manufacturing sector saw a 9.66 percent growth rate in Q1, with a 4.83 percent increase in the first two quarters of 2020 compared with 2019. The main contribution came from electronic components and parts, which had grown 25.49 percent and 23.26 percent for the past two quarters, respectively. The other significant contribution was from computer, electronics, and optical instruments, which saw an impressive 12.88 percent and 10.48 percent climb, respectively. However, other sectors such as chemical materials, basic metals, and machinery had negative growth rates.

Table 5.

Industrial production index (yoy) growth rate by the selected manufacturing sector (unit: %)

ManufactureElectronic components and partsChemical materialsBasic metalsComputer, electronics, and optical instrumentsMachinery
2019 −0.45 0.11 −4.39 −7.94 28.51 −13.74 
Q1 −4.96 −10.32 −4.19 −1.26 28.73 −9.47 
Q2 −1.01 −2.70 −3.68 −8.29 28.99 −13.33 
Q3 2.02 6.75 −5.38 −10.51 30.73 −16.19 
Q4 1.84 5.76 −4.32 −11.40 25.91 −15.61 
2020       
Q1 9.66 25.49 −1.17 −1.79 12.88 −10.20 
Q2 4.83 23.26 −5.97 −6.30 10.48 −11.02 
ManufactureElectronic components and partsChemical materialsBasic metalsComputer, electronics, and optical instrumentsMachinery
2019 −0.45 0.11 −4.39 −7.94 28.51 −13.74 
Q1 −4.96 −10.32 −4.19 −1.26 28.73 −9.47 
Q2 −1.01 −2.70 −3.68 −8.29 28.99 −13.33 
Q3 2.02 6.75 −5.38 −10.51 30.73 −16.19 
Q4 1.84 5.76 −4.32 −11.40 25.91 −15.61 
2020       
Q1 9.66 25.49 −1.17 −1.79 12.88 −10.20 
Q2 4.83 23.26 −5.97 −6.30 10.48 −11.02 

Source:Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan.

Tourism and food sectors were hit most in the service sector. Table 6 shows a huge 75.1 percent decline in foreign tourists, with a 42.1 percent fall in hotel room revenue and a 25.7 percent drop for hotel food and drinks for the past two quarters. The tourism industry was hit badly mainly due to the strict border controls, as few foreigners were allowed to enter Taiwan. However, as the virus spread has stabilized without any local cases found for months, the government has started to promote domestic tourism since July, with a corresponding rise in the hotel business.

Table 6.

Taiwan's selective inner demand indexes

Foreign tourists (thousand)TAIEX indexTAIEX volume (bn)Hotel room revenue (bn)Hotel food revenue (bn)
2019 Jul 989 10,846 107.2 2.3 2.0 
2019 Aug 1,031 10,469 113.9 2.3 2.0 
2019 Sep 794 10,816 109.5 2.0 2.1 
2019 Oct 939 11,140 122.9 2.3 2.2 
2019 Nov 990 11,559 122.4 2.4 2.3 
2019 Dec 1,143 11,854 118.3 2.5 2.5 
2019 (total) 11,864 10,790 109.4 268 264 
2020 Jan 813 11,962 144.8 2.2 3.2 
2020 Feb 357 11,624 131.8 1.0 1.2 
2020 Mar 78 10,138 167.8 0.5 0.9 
2020 Apr 10,329 150.9 — — 
2020 May 10,877 166.8 — — 
2020 Jun — 11,490 183.9 — — 
2020 Jan–June 1,254 11,010 158.6 3.8 5.3 
Rate compared to last year (%) −75.1 5.6 54.9 −42.1 −25.7 
Foreign tourists (thousand)TAIEX indexTAIEX volume (bn)Hotel room revenue (bn)Hotel food revenue (bn)
2019 Jul 989 10,846 107.2 2.3 2.0 
2019 Aug 1,031 10,469 113.9 2.3 2.0 
2019 Sep 794 10,816 109.5 2.0 2.1 
2019 Oct 939 11,140 122.9 2.3 2.2 
2019 Nov 990 11,559 122.4 2.4 2.3 
2019 Dec 1,143 11,854 118.3 2.5 2.5 
2019 (total) 11,864 10,790 109.4 268 264 
2020 Jan 813 11,962 144.8 2.2 3.2 
2020 Feb 357 11,624 131.8 1.0 1.2 
2020 Mar 78 10,138 167.8 0.5 0.9 
2020 Apr 10,329 150.9 — — 
2020 May 10,877 166.8 — — 
2020 Jun — 11,490 183.9 — — 
2020 Jan–June 1,254 11,010 158.6 3.8 5.3 
Rate compared to last year (%) −75.1 5.6 54.9 −42.1 −25.7 

Source:Department of Statistics, Ministry of Finance.

Table 7 indicates that food service sales dropped 6.8 percent and 12.7 percent for the first and second quarters, respectively, in 2020. Restaurants were forced to alter their strategies by rearranging their layouts to follow social distancing requirements or to join online food delivery platforms. Table 7 also shows the decreased growth in the retail industry for the past two quarters due to shrinking consumer demand. Some hospitality and non-essential retail businesses such as fashion and cosmetics also suffered due to a plummet in consumer and business spending caused by travel restrictions and social-distancing measures. The wholesale sector had a 3.5 percent increase in the first quarter and a negative 2.5 percent in the second quarter. Although wholesale, retail, and food service showed a negative growth in the second quarter, the outlook for the third quarter is better as the virus has been under control since April in Taiwan.

Table 7.

Sales revenue growth rate (yoy) by selected service sectors (unit: %)

WholesaleRetailFood service
2019 −2.1 3.1 4.4 
Q1 −3.2 −0.6 6.1 
Q2 −3.5 3.9 4.0 
Q3 −2.3 4.7 3.7 
Q4 0.6 4.2 4.1 
2020    
Q1 3.5 −0.8 −6.8 
January −13.1 2.0 17.7 
February 15.9 −0.8 −17.4 
March 7.8 −3.5 −20.7 
Q2 −2.5 −5.7 −12.7 
April −1.0 −10.2 −22.8 
May −6.8 −5.8 −8.7 
June 0.3 −1.1 −16.6 
WholesaleRetailFood service
2019 −2.1 3.1 4.4 
Q1 −3.2 −0.6 6.1 
Q2 −3.5 3.9 4.0 
Q3 −2.3 4.7 3.7 
Q4 0.6 4.2 4.1 
2020    
Q1 3.5 −0.8 −6.8 
January −13.1 2.0 17.7 
February 15.9 −0.8 −17.4 
March 7.8 −3.5 −20.7 
Q2 −2.5 −5.7 −12.7 
April −1.0 −10.2 −22.8 
May −6.8 −5.8 −8.7 
June 0.3 −1.1 −16.6 

Source:Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan.

4.2  Impact on the main sectors of industry: Winners and losers

Taiwan's National Development Council released a report of five industries heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: (1) airlines and tourism, (2) electronic components, (3) machine tools, (4) petrochemicals, and (5) automotive parts. The airline and travel industries have been hit drastically by the pandemic with the sharp drop in demand for air travel. As a result, two main local carriers, EVA and China Airlines, and their subsidiaries have been forced to completely cancel or limit flights to numerous destinations. These airline companies adjusted their business strategy to pivot to shipping packages instead of passengers on their flights or redirected international flights into domestic flights. With these measures, China Airlines surprisingly regained a positive revenue in the second quarter.

Hotels and restaurants are among the worst hit sectors. According to the latest statistics from the Labor Insurance Bureau, there were a total of 45,594 claims for first-time unemployment compensation from January to May 2020. This is a 23.75 percent increase compared with that of 2019 and creates a new record for the last ten years. There were 5,011 workers who received first-time unemployment compensation from January to May 2020 from the hotels and restaurants sectors, compared with only 1,804 workers during the same period in 2019. The dramatic 177 percent increase in these sectors compared with the average 23.75 percent increase reveals how hotels and restaurants bore the brunt from COVID-19. However, as the situation stabilized in Taiwan, business bounced back gradually, spurred by the government's promotion of domestic travel. The electronic components, machine tools, and auto-parts sector mainly suffered from weak external demand from China and global markets, and petrochemicals demand was also hit hard by the falling oil prices amid the pandemic crisis.

However, Taiwan has actually benefited from an increase in sales for some products, especially information and communication technologies products and semiconductor products since the outbreak of the pandemic. Exports of electronic components had increased by 19.4 percent from January to May 2020. Taiwan's leading semiconductor company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, enjoyed a 42 percent increase in first-quarter revenue compared with last year. Foreign demand for high-technology products have risen strongly due to the increase in videoconferencing and online activities to support work-from-home and social distancing guidelines around the globe. Exports of information and audiovideo products thus increased by 9.5 percent from January to May 2020.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, export orders received by Taiwan-based companies in March grew more than 40.4 percent to US$ 40.26 billion from the previous month despite the economic impact of the pandemic. That represents an increase of US$ 11.58 billion in export orders from February and a year-on-year growth of 4.3 percent. Demand for electronic products jumped by 24 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Face masks and other medical and health care products also witnessed a huge influx of rush orders from abroad.13

4.3  Government relief and stimulus policy to boost the economy

Taiwan's COVID-19 relief measures are composed of three types: financial aid, employment assistance, and tax breaks. Taiwan's quick government response is expected to reduce the possible negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and society. The government had approved a number of special relief packages amounting to a total of NT$ 1.05 trillion (US$ 35 billion), around 5.5 percent of Taiwan's 2019 GDP. This economic relief package includes a NT$ 210 billion (US$ 6.94 billion) special budget14 for relief and stimulus funding, NT$ 140 billion (US$ 4.63 billion)15 special funds, and NT$ 700 billion (US$ 23.13 billion) worth of loans and credit. The Ministry of Economic Affairs allocated NT$ 97.5 billion (US$ 3.25 billion) for financial bailouts, aiming to revitalize local consumption and to support businesses, especially small enterprises and service-sector family businesses such as night market vendors or hairdressers. They are eligible to receive subsidies of up to 30 percent of their power and water bills and up to 40 percent of their salary costs.

The government also rolled out relief assistance programs with “stimulus coupons”16 to encourage consumption and boost the local economy; however, the effectiveness of the stimulus coupons has been disputed.17 On 14 August, the government further released a new relief package for the severely hit tourism industry, with wage subsidies to hotel employees of up to 40 percent of their regular wages (up to NT$ 20,000) and a monthly handout of NT$ 10,000 to self-employed tourist guides for three months. These timely relief measures will continue to counter the expected foreseeable negative economic impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

4.4  Challenges and opportunities

The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to have similar economic impacts as the SARS outbreak in 2003, for which Lee and McKibbin (2004) had written that fears of infection will lead to a substantial decline in consumer demand, especially for the travel and retail sales sectors. The uncertainty of COVID-19 reduces confidence in the future and the inadequate expenditure on public health in developing countries to avoid another future major pandemic outbreak. Taiwan will also face the inevitable decline in consumer demand, but Taiwan's adequate investment in public health places it in a better position to fight against COVID-19 as compared to SARS.

Even though Taiwan has successfully kept COVID-19 under control so far, there are still challenges and opportunities that Taiwan will face in the future. The first challenge is the possibility of a second wave amid gradual loosening of border controls and increased domestic travel with fewer people wearing face masks. Since 21 July (the date on which no local cases had been reported in Taiwan for 100 accumulative days), many have started to relax their cautionary measures and have gone on “revenge” trips around the country, which have led to crowds at famous tourist landmarks without proper social distancing. For example, 290,000 tourists were reported to have traveled to Penghu in July 2020. This number of visitors not only exceeded the total of 269,645 visitors from January to June, but was a greater increase compared with the 182,860 tourists in July 2019.

Vietnam and New Zealand, both deemed as models for the successful containment of the virus along with Taiwan, offer a glimpse of what can happen if a second wave breaks out. COVID-19 restrictions have been reintroduced across New Zealand after four new cases were diagnosed in Auckland. On 12 August, Auckland was placed on an alert Level 3 for three days.18 This new outbreak has sent one-third of the population back into lockdown and placed the rest of the country under various restrictions. Vietnam went 99 days without any new cases only to see a surge of new infections in July at the port city of Danang.

The situation in Taiwan's neighboring countries also seems pessimistic: Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines face mounting cases, and South Korea is enduring a possible second outbreak from a church gathering in August. Taiwan's loosened border controls and a rise in domestic travel, along with the September reopening of schools and the onset of the flu season, will further exacerbate the risk of another wave of infections in Taiwan.

The second challenge comes from cross-strait relations with China. Tensions between Taiwan and China have elevated to new heights since President Tsai's inauguration in 2016. This conflict may escalate even more and is expected to cause greater uncertainty that may be detrimental to investments from abroad.

Nevertheless, opportunities emerge. The first is the increasing possibility of forming a new international health coalition that would include Taiwan. Despite Taiwan's early warnings about the virus in January, the exclusion of Taiwan from the WHO did not help other countries to be sufficiently informed about COVID-19 to take the appropriate measures to fight against the virus. Taiwan's strong performance in fighting COVID-19 may increase other countries’ trust in Taiwan's public health management abilities. With help from larger economies such as the United States and the EU, the possibility for a new health coalition that would include Taiwan's participation can be achieved. This new coalition is not to replace the current WHO, but would serve as a complementary role. The world simply cannot ignore any potential contribution from Taiwan in containing the virus. Global cooperation in public health without excluding any country is essential to fight against the pandemic. A new health coalition including Taiwan is a win–win situation for the world and Taiwan.

Other short-run opportunities are emerging under the shadow of the pandemic. E-commerce can benefit from lockdowns and social distancing policies in many countries. More people are shopping online to order food, daily necessities, and commodities via the Internet. There are also more people choosing to ride a bicycle for work and leisure instead of taking public transportation. This new trend has seen Giant, a famous Taiwan bicycle producer, overloaded with export orders for the past months due to the rise in commuters who cycle.

The pandemic, which has made many countries aware of their growing economic dependence on China for goods in several critical sectors, has led to calls to delink global supply chains of major industries from China. Taiwan's successful handling of the pandemic makes Taiwan an attractive and relatively safe place for manufacturing. This may win more long-term contracts from both returning Taiwanese and foreign businesses. International companies have been searching for supply-chain providers outside of China since the 2019 U.S.–China trade war. Van der Veen and Van Mechelen19 write that the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S.–China trade war have increased pressure on American firms to consider diversifying their supply chains away from China. Vietnam, Mexico, and Taiwan are the main beneficiaries of the shift in U.S. imports. If the pandemic continues while Taiwan maintains its good epidemiological performance, it can have opportunities to gain a more important role in the future realignment of the global supply chain in industries such as 5G, artificial intelligence, big data, printed circuit assembly supply chains, and the semiconductor subsector.

5.  Lessons and conclusions

Sachs (2020) notes that the key takeaway of the successful Asia-Pacific experience is the ability to control the epidemic through improved hygiene practices and the isolation of infectious individuals rather than a reliance on deep economic shutdown.

What lessons can Taiwan teach the world so other countries can learn to stop the spread of the virus? First, its previous SARS experience makes the Taiwanese populace a highly alert society that is willing to cooperate in practicing hygienic habits like wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Secondly, an affordable and high-coverage national health insurance system also plays a crucial role in Taiwan's fight against COVID-19, aiding the “precision prevention” strategy that Taiwan relies on to trace cases and allocate medical resources such as face masks. Third, the timely government reaction to set up a centralized command center helped to prevent the virus from spreading in the initial stages. Countries that responded earlier and aggressively tend to have better responses than those who do not. Information that was provided regularly and transparently by the government can also ease public uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Fourth, the Taiwan government's intervention to secure relevant medical supplies also contributes toward ensuring public confidence and also preventing the medical system from being overloaded. This pandemic taught us another important lesson: Medical supplies are essential, strategic products that are as important as national defense equipment. It is better for countries to manufacture medical supplies themselves rather than rely on supply chains from abroad.

Besides strict border controls, quarantine policy also plays an important role to keep the virus from spreading. As an island, Taiwan has a geographic advantage. Without land borders with other countries, it is relatively easier for Taiwan to enforce border control.

The use of technology for contact tracing and isolation of those potentially exposed to the virus is crucial to Taiwan's successful efforts to prevent the COVID-19 spread at the early stage.

However, some deficiencies and criticism exist for Taiwan's strategy. Even though Taiwan's number of confirmed cases and deaths are low, the lack of wider screening and universal testing are under scrutiny. Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung expressed that Taiwan does not need to apply universal testing, which will only waste Taiwan's limited medical resources, and should continue to utilize its medical resources effectively with the “precision prevention strategy.” He believes that clinics and hospital can serve as the frontline position against COVID-19 instead of employing universal testing, since it is cheaper to go to a hospital than to set up massive testing sites in Taiwan because of the country's affordable national health insurance, unlike other countries. Additionally, the government can make necessary adjustments to its border control and quarantine policy according to the new developments around world. For example, the government can institute mandatory country-specific testing and categorized quarantine policy at the border, such as it implemented for travelers from the Philippines when the latter's infection numbers rose sharply in July.20

Even as COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, more and more countries have started to loosen their border controls and lockdown measures in the hope of reviving their economies to pre-pandemic levels. Taiwan is no exception when it comes to lifting restrictions on inbound entries. From August 2020, an average of 2,000 passengers enter Taiwan every day, with numbers expected to continue to rise. This rise in traveler inflow will put greater pressure on the corresponding mandatory self-quarantine measures, such as potentially giving rise to an inadequate number of quarantine centers that will make the current precision-prevention strategy more difficult to enforce.21

Notes

1 

There are 95 U.S.-related cases followed by 72 UK-related cases as of 29 August.

2 

The World Health Organization recently announced that the average global infected rate for the age 15–24 cohort had increased from 4.5 percent in February to 15 percent in July.

3 

Since 19 June 2008, the Kinmen and Matsu islands are liberalized for postal, transportation, and trade links with Fujian Province, China.

4 

The remaining five airports are Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.

5 

Those who do not wear a face mask while taking public transportation such as MRT, buses, trains will be fined up to NT$ 15,000 ($500).

6 

CEEC extended the numbers to 1000 persons and 250 persons for outdoor and indoor gatherings later in May as the virus spread stabilized since late April.

7 

Those subject to and abiding by the 14-day quarantine measure are eligible to receive NT$ 1,000 (US$ 33.80) daily compensation from the government.

8 

In 2017 the services sector contributed 62.82 percent of GDP and employs around 60 percent of the labor force, followed by the manufacturing sector, which accounts 35.37 percent of employment and employs about 36 percent of the labor force in Taiwan. The agriculture sector contributes only 1.7 percent of GDP and employs about 5 percent of the labor force in Taiwan.

9 

The public and private institution forecasted positive GDP growth rate for Taiwan are as follows: Taiwan National Statistics (2.37 percent), Central Bank of Taiwan (1.92 percent), Chung-Hua Institute for Economic Research (CIER) (1.03 percent), Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute (1.50 percent).

10 

According to the latest Directorate of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), domestic demand, government consumption, and exports continued to decline for the first two quarters except an increase in capital formation from 1.32 percent to 2.19 percent in the second quarter.

11 

“The Impact of COVID-19 on Taiwan's Economy and Future Prospects.” Taiwan Insight, May 2020.

12 

“Taiwan's Early Success Against Coronavirus Cushions Economy.” Financial Times, April 2020.

13 

The face mask export ban was removed on 30 June.

14 

The NT$ 210 billion special budgets are the funds for the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Interiors.

15 

The NT$ 140 billion special funds includes the Employment Security Fund, Tourism Development Fund, National Development Fund, etc.

16 

Residents can use NT$ 1,000 to exchange NT$ 3,000 worth of coupons. The coupons will be accepted at an estimated 140,000 restaurants around Taiwan, as well as 280,000 businesses in shopping centers, 10,000 night markets, and 1,700 arts and culture spots.

17 

There is a NT$ 2.2 billion administrative cost for the coupons. Based on the MPC estimates from Kan et al. (2017) Dr. Kan estimated in a conference in August that it can only contribute to a 0.08 percent GDP (around NT$ 15.27 billion) increase.

18 

There are four alert levels in New Zealand: Level 1 (Prepare) = the disease is contained; Level 2 (Reduce) = the disease is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains; Level 3 (Restrict) = there is high risk the disease is not contained; Level 4 (Lockdown) = likely the disease is not contained.

19 

“Decoupling U.S.–China Supply Chains: High Tech on the Move.” RaboResearch---Economic Research, July 2020.

20 

Travelers arriving in Taiwan from the Philippines must undergo COVID-19 testing at airports and observe quarantine measures starting 26 July 2020.

21 

The demand for quarantine places increases because of increasing passengers from more marked low-risk countries and the opening for all the foreign students in high schools and below to return from 19 August.

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Author notes

*

The author is indebted to Professor Wing Thye Woo for his warm invitation and valuable suggestions on this paper.