We are keenly aware of the lessons from our history, and as a result, we’ve had extraordinary success protecting ourselves from this new virus without having to implement any lockdowns. Roughly 15 years ago, SARS hit us. We remember all too well how many lives were lost due to late recognition, lack of information, and inadequate public health preparation, and so we made it a national priority to never let it happen to us again. When COVID-19 hit, we were one of the first countries on earth to stop incoming flights from infected countries, beginning as early as February. Medical mask exports were restricted, and the government provided funding to expand production lines. The national health insurance system was linked together with our customs records so that medical practitioners could quickly verify patients’ travel histories, allowing doctors to accurately rate their patients' risk levels, and propose effective responses. On top of it, a 14-day post-travelling self quarantine was strictly implemented. SARS taught us the lesson, and by all accounts, we have passed the COVID-19 test with one of the world’s lowest infection rates, and most open, accurate reporting structures.
This success wouldn’t have been possible without the public’s enthusiastic adoption of evidence-based, historically-verified medical advice. The Taiwanese started to wear masks everywhere way before any official announcements were made, especially on public transportation. And while we know that masks alone won’t prevent you from catching the virus, we understand that a mask is a strong step toward preventing any infected people from transmitting the virus to others through sneezes, coughs, or even loud talking, which spreads droplets of saliva into the surrounding area. People who are infected may not feel it yet, but they are still contagious. So, here are our supper successful suggestions for survival-
Suggestion Number 1: Wear a mask in crowded areas. Even if you don’t have a medical mask, try using simple cloth ones. Any physical barrier is better than turning yourself into a COVID sprinkler!
Suggestion Number 2: Wash your hands often. Make it a habit out of it. Do it when you arrive in the office, do it when you arrive back home. If water and soap aren’t available, spray some alcohol and rub your hands together until dry. There might be insufficient data in how effective masks are at preventing you from catching the virus, but hand-washing has always been a scientifically sound (and safe) sanitization method.
Suggestion Number 3: Bring rubbing alcohol with you, and clean sitting areas. One of the largest infection vectors is from surface-to-finger, then finger-to-face (usually your nose or mouth).
People in Taiwan have been sterilizing vigorously. Office desks, classroom chairs, lightswitches, and anywhere else someone might touch. The Taipei Metro is sterilizing escalator handrails on an hourly base, and all cars get thoroughly wiped down the moment they reach their end stations. Preserving your health is more important than the temporary embarrassment wiping down a surface may sometimes cause.
Social distancing has been difficult for many, but maybe less so for us Asians? One benefit of being shy is that we don’t kiss or hug each other that often, and now it’s finally paying off! During these next few months of uncertainty, maybe you’d like to try things our way: Upon meeting, just politely wave (no bow needed), this includes both hellos and goodbyes. Space yourself away from anyone standing too close to you on the metro, and politely refuse the hand-shaking. This is to protect both you and the other party, so add a little social awkwardness into your life! (just for a little while). And here’s a pro-tip: If you’re wondering how to refuse a handshake outright, try letting them know that you trust them entirely, but you’re not sure how many doorknobs or elevator buttons you’ve touched. Make a joke out of it, and then you come off as careful and considerate, and who knows? Maybe even funny.
Suggestion Number 4: EXERCISE! COVID-19 is known to be especially dangerous for people with weak immune systems.
Just 10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can boost that immune system up a bit, and who knows? 10 minutes every day might be the key to staying healthy! Some HIIT ideas for people living in tiny spaces like us in Taipei -- a Hong Kong youtuber: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvGEK5_U-kLgO6-AMDPeTUQ. Or this Taiwanese girl if you’re looking for higher intensity training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M56to7gX6bE
Stay healthy and strong, and when the time comes, TourMeAway is excited to greet you again with more crazy, fun tours!