Recently, Jessie Tu shared how Tsai Ing-wen has led Taiwan on an extraordinary COVID-19 response that’s the envy of much of the world.
President Tsai is one of a number of female heads of state that we’ve been following, examining how their leadership is supporting low infection rates and extensive testing. The performance of female leaders during the pandemic is remarkable when you consider just how few women are leading countries around the world.
Now, the first female president of Taiwan has shared what’s been working with TIME magazine and issued a call to the world to work together.
She describes Taiwan as an island of resilience, with centuries of hardship that has taught them how to cope and adapt.
But that’s not all. She says that it’s been a combination of efforts by government, medical professionals, the private sector and society at large that has aided their success. The lessons of the 2003 SARS outbreak remain — putting them on high alert for how quickly a virus can spread. They began monitoring incoming passengers from Wuhan as early as December. In January, they established the Central Epidemic Command Center to handle prevention measures and introduced early travel restrictions and quarantine protocols for high-risk travelers.
The first positive case occurred on January 21, and they commenced vigorous tracking efforts to source every potential contact. As of the 14th April, they had fewer than 400 cases.
The government took over the mass production of medical masks early, so much so that they have an extensive surplus supply that they have been donating to the world.
“Taiwan has effectively managed the containment of the corona-virus within our borders,” President Tsai writes.
“Yet on a global level, COVID-19 is a humanitarian disaster that requires the joint efforts of all countries. Although Taiwan has been unfairly excluded from the WHO and the U.N., we remain willing and able to utilize our strengths across manufacturing, medicine and technology to work with the world.
She calls on a collective, global effort to fight the humanitarian crisis.
“Global crises test the fabric of the international community, stretching us at the seams and threatening to tear us apart. Now more than ever, every link in this global network must be accounted for. We must set aside our differences and work together for the benefit of humankind. The fight against COVID-19 will require the collective efforts of people around the world.”