Upon the discovery of the first infected person in Taiwan on Jan. 21, we undertook rigorous investigative efforts to track travel and contact history for every patient, helping to isolate and contain the contagion before a mass community outbreak was possible. In addition to the tireless efforts of our public-health professionals, spearheaded by Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, our informed citizens have done their part. Private businesses, franchises and apartment communities have initiated body-temperature monitoring and disinfection steps that have supplemented government efforts in public spaces.
To prevent mass panic buying, at an early stage the government monitored market spikes in commodities and took over the production and distribution of medical-grade masks. With the cooperation of private machine-tool and medical-supply companies, the Ministry of Economic Affairs coordinated additional production lines for surgical masks, multiplying production capacity. Supported by technology experts, pharmacies and convenience stores, we devised a system for distributing rationed masks. Here, masks are available and affordable to both hospitals and the general public. The joint efforts of government and private companies—a partnership we have deemed “Team Taiwan”—have also enabled us to donate supplies to seriously affected countries.