News Stardom: Taiwan, Amidst the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, countries across the world are grappling with fear and uncertainty. As new cases appear every day in different parts, the situation is exacerbating as it increases in severity. During such time, what has particularly stood out in countries like Taiwan is the role of technology and ICT. Taiwan has been using big data analytics, new technology and proactive testing to limit the spread of the disease. In fact, in a recent paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Taiwan’s disease-prevention efforts were specially lauded signifying the island’s ICT capabilities. When the situation began in China, Taiwan was expected to have the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases due to its geographical and economic closeness to China. However, the paper pointed that the number of cases in Taiwan has been limited among virus-affected countries.
For several years now, Taiwan’slandmark ICT industry has created a place for itself and the country has been highly regarded as a vital player in the global IT technology supply chains. Taiwan’s high-tech competitiveness includes top talent, a well-developed industrial chain, and a formidable entrepreneurial spirit. Through combined public, private and academic sector efforts, the country has been facilitatingthe development of application programming interfaces, which help create various mobile applications topinpoint data on pharmacy locations and disease-prevention supplies for the convenience and benefit of the people. During this difficult time, the Taiwan government has also been able to generate real-time alerts during a clinical visit by integrating and leveraging the national health insurance, immigrations and customs database. A close watch is being kept on people who have recently traveled to virus-affected countries. Other steps being taken to control the situation are the online health declaration border pass for faster immigration clearance and proactively seeking out patients with severe respiratory symptoms. Speaking about the initiative, Mark Wu, Executive Director of TAITRA’s Strategic Marketing Department said “We have been using innovative tools and technologies like Big data and ICT capabilities to limit the spread of the disease to some extent. Right now, it is essential to increase awareness among people, and deliver only the right information at the right time to the world. Taiwan has leveraged its public health infrastructure to launch a quick response to the crisis with technology.”