What's changed since the coronavirus outbreak in Taiwan?

Are people resuming life as before?

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I live in Taipei, Taiwan, and last Friday I had a barbecue at my rooftop. About 25 friends turned out to gather in a tight space to grill, drink beer, and chill. Nobody was concerned about being infected by coronavirus, and nobody even wore masks.

Since the coronavirus outbreak in Taiwan, these kinds of gatherings have been frowned upon, but people are cautiously gathering, usually wearing masks. Taiwan has one of the highest social media penetration rates in the world. I think 99% of the population here has Facebook, so that means that local people have their ear on the pulse and get news updates multiple times a day.

This has both scared the shit out of everyone in the early weeks of the outbreak, and boosted confidence that we're beating it, with now six days in a row without any new infections. Latest news reports say Taiwan will be coronavirus-free by June, 2020.

Funny story, I was unlucky and caught a cold in March as the cases were increasing. I was coughing all over the place and it really scared people. Sitting in a cafe or in a bookstore, people would walk over to me and pass me a mask. I have a decent collection of free face masks now.

But what's impressed me is how people here have worked together to each do their part to control the outbreak, while during the same time in America, people were fighting over toilet paper, beating up Asian people, and heckling each other for wearing masks. The world could learn a lot from Taiwan in these strange times.

The virus has started to leave the conversation here but there's still going to be economic implications, with so many Taiwanese companies selling products to the US and the West. Luckily, one of the main sectors is IT and tech, so companies like Acer are seeing over 100 percent increase in sales as everyone starts working from home and gaming on their PCs more.

The borders are still closed but foreigners looking to come to Taiwan to teach can still get special permits to enter if they're hired and sent a work permit by PDF from abroad.

The government is rolling out vending machines that sell masks which is not only a great way to keep people from sneezing on each other, but a great business idea.

It's now mandatory to wear masks on public transportation including the high speed rail. I imagine this being in effect for the foreseeable future.

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