Coronavirus Update: Taiwan’s Economy Handles Outbreak Better than Any in the World

Research by statistics-focused publication Our World in Data has ranked Taiwan as the country that has faced the least economic impact from COVID-19. Given the incredible efforts of the government, the CECC and Taiwan’s citizens, this does not really surprise us.

As reported by Taiwan News, Taiwan has seen just a 0.6% drop in GDP in the second quarter of the year in comparison with the same quarter in 2019. The second-best country is South Korea (-3%), while the likes of the US (-9.5%), Japan (-10%) and the UK (-21.7%) have fared significantly worse. The country that has been impacted the worst, according to the data, is Peru, which has seen its GDP down 30.2% from this time last year. (Read more: Taiwan: The Best Post-Pandemic Travel Destination)

(Graph: Our World in Data)

Taiwan also ranked the best on a graph displaying the correlation between economic downturn and coronavirus-related deaths per million people. With just seven deaths since the outbreak, Taiwan has recorded 0.29 deaths per million residents. However, low death rate doesn’t necessarily result in better GDP, as the likes of Malaysia (3.96 deaths per million) and Singapore (4.62) have experienced drops of 17.1% and 13.2% respectively, while Finland, for example, has a death rate of 61.18 per million, but an economic downturn of just -5.2%. Tunisia’s drop of 21.6% is just 0.1% lower than that of the UK, despite its death rate being lower by 603.44.

(Graph Our World in Data)

However, one thing that is noticeable from the second graph is that on average, Asian countries seem to have both a lower death rate and a lower economic downturn. This may be due to closer proximity to China, the source of the outbreak, and being alerted quicker and responding more quickly to the threat of the virus. Although this is merely an assumption. China itself is excluded from the data due to its earlier economic downturn. Wuhan, for example, was locked down on January 23, months before many other countries on this graph started taking the virus outbreak seriously.

At the time of writing, Taiwan has confirmed 499 cases of COVID-19, with 476 recoveries, seven deaths and the rest ongoing. Only 55 of Taiwan’s cases have been documented as domestic, with 407 being imported (brought into the country by foreign travelers or local returnees) 36 being a cluster aboard a naval ship and one currently having an unknown source. The latest case was confirmed on September 14, a woman from the Philippines traveling to Taiwan for work arriving on September 10.  

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