CDC lunch on Covid-19

13 March, 2020


The ECCT, in conjunction with ICRT, hosted a lunch on the topic "Dealing with the coronavirus outbreak - Precautions and contingencies for business".
The following is a short summary of what was said but you can read the full event report here.

The event featured guest speakers Dr Chen Yee-chun, Professor of Medicine at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine and Dr Angela Huang (Song-en), Medical Officer, at the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The speakers gave an update on the current global, regional and local Covid-19 situation, Taiwan's preparedness and actions to date in terms of containment and mitigation.

On 11 March, the WHO declared Covid-19 as a pandemic, the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.



As of 11 March, there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.

Chen pointed out that these are just reported cases and one should be aware of countries that have reported few or no cases, which may be because of a lack of testing, not good controls.

Taiwan's containment measures have been effective so far.  She made the point that even if just 1% of the population of any given country becomes infected, it will create a huge burden for the healthcare system, as has been seen in China and more recently in Italy and Iran. And, of course, the impact on the economy will be significant, given that supply chains have become so complex due to globalisation.

While we learn more about Covid-19 every day, we still don't know the exact cause, transmission route and what treatment works best.

All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.

Chen concluded that countries must take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact by preparing and being ready to detect, protect and treat, reduce transmission, innovate and learn.

In her presentation, Dr Huang said that healthcare authorities in Taiwan are now conducting about 500-700 tests for Covid-19 daily.


In the Q&A session, Huang noted that people who have been in contact with infected people should seek treatment and be quarantined. However, people should not worry about contacts of contacts.

On a question as to whether or not one should see a doctor if one has just mild symptoms, Dr Huang said that it is up to the individual. However, she stressed that if you have respiratory symptoms you should see a doctor right away, although you should not use public transport to get there. Dr Chen added that if you have travelled overseas and have a fever or a cough, you should visit one of several dedicated clinics assigned exclusively to coronavirus screening without delay. Bookings can be done online and the process takes just 30 minutes.

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