Taipei/Seoul — When Prof Su Ih-jen looks at the latest coronavirus statistics, he cannot help but feel proud. With just 59 confirmed cases and one death as of Sunday, Taiwan has managed to avoid a big outbreak of a disease that has paralysed neighbouring China. Apart from most people wearing masks on public transport, life goes on as usual. 

The experience is a stark contrast to 2003, when Su, then the director of Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC), was at the forefront of the battle to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which had a devastating effect on the country. The mood in Taiwan also drastically differs from the sense of panic and confusion in Europe and the US, where the arrival of the pandemic at their doorstep has come as a surprise to many...

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