As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in all nooks of the globe, Taiwan, from the first day of its outbreak has successfully kept the pandemic at bay. Even though the country has a population of more than 23,780,000, Taiwan has recorded only 496 confirmed coronavirus cases, and the death toll is still below 10.
Taiwanese Model in Coronavirus Battle
In a recent article written in The Conversation, Kelsie Nabben, a researcher at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre, RMIT University, has suggested that the unlikely heroes of Taiwan's success are civic tech activists. Earlier, Taiwan's digital minister Audrey Tang had also claimed that the country's digital social innovation is the key behind the successful management of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nabben revealed that early intervention by civil tech hackers in collaboration with the general public by creating live maps and chatbots has helped to create awareness about the pandemic, and it also aided people to find pharmacies to claim free masks in the initial days of the outbreak.
"Taiwan was among the first countries in the world to detect and respond to the virus, thanks to crowd-sourced, collective intelligence through online bulletin boards. Before long, civic tech hackers were working on open data projects for citizens to interact with live maps, distributed ledger technology, and chatbots to find the nearest pharmacy to claim free masks, with stock levels updated in real-time to stop panic buying," wrote Nabben in The Conversation.
Vital Role Played by Audrey Tang
Audrey Tang is not just the digital minister of Taiwan. She is a software programmer widely reckoned as the ten greatest Taiwanese Computing Personalities. Tang has played a crucial role in encouraging civic participation by digital means in the coronavirus battle campaign. Tang embraced these innovative ideas at a time when most of the countries don't fully understand the technical and governance dynamics of the digital realm.
In Taiwan, following the crowning of Tang, digital tools are widely used to encourage the participation of the general public in democracy, and this initiative has helped the country to combat the coronavirus pandemic effectively now.