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  • Behind the Mask

The Virus — Taiwan

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

To stop the virus, protect yourselves first! Taiwan, where I come from, hasn’t had any local cases for more than two hundred days and we never had to impose a lockdown. We were the first country to carry out a border quarantine, but at the same time, we were not involved in the World Health Organization (WHO) efforts because of political issues. We felt insecure since we knew little about the pandemic. Furthermore, Taiwan's experience with the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003 was tragic for Taiwanese people and increased the anxiety related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For these reasons, even if the government stated that masks weren't necessary in public spaces, more than 80 percent of the population in Taiwan started wearing masks. Without everyone’s efforts, we would not have been able to contain the spread of the virus. Even with low infection rates, since no sign exists that the pandemic will be controlled any time soon, we should keep protecting ourselves.

Besides collaborating in prevention and safety, I noticed that several societal issues were brought to light this year with the pandemic. First, racial discrimination: after the pandemic hit hard throughout the world, many countries started to discriminate against Asians, just because the virus had its first outbreak in China. Asians, however, were victims of COVID-19 just as much as any other ethnic group, and no one is to blame for the worldwide crisis we are experiencing now. Thus, please remember that our common enemy is the virus, not any specific group of people in the world! Second, ethical issues arose with the pandemic. Article 3 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person, but not everyone has adequate medical care during the pandemic. The deep gap between the haves and have-nots results in poor people being incapable to afford medical care, as if they have no right to live. The COVID-19 crisis only exacerbates and showcases these awful social injustices. Some places have fewer to almost no medical resources to treat every patient. Moreover, in Taiwan, teenagers have priority for treatment because they are valued more than the elderly. How can people's worth be measured through their age, though? These problems with race and ethics may not have an obvious solution, but they are crucial to address.

Last but not least, I hope that countries can cooperate and the whole world can control and put a stop to the pandemic as soon as possible. God bless the world!

— Minnie Shih, 16

Taipei, Taiwan



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