TAIPEI, Taiwan — Because the coronavirus has upended lives and economies around the globe, Taiwan has been an oasis.
Day-after-day, droplets fly with abandon in packed eating places. Workplace buildings hum, and colleges resound with the laughter of maskless kids.
This island of 24 million, which has seen simply 10 Covid-19 deaths and fewer than 1,000 circumstances, has used its success to promote one thing scarce: dwelling with out concern of the virus. The comparatively few who’re allowed to enter have been coming in droves, and so they’ve helped to gasoline an financial increase.
These Covid migrants, who’re largely abroad Taiwanese and twin nationals, have included businesspeople, college students, retirees and well-known figures. About 270,000 extra Taiwanese entered the island than left it in 2020, in accordance with the immigration authorities.
Taiwan’s borders have been principally closed to overseas guests since final spring. However extremely expert non-Taiwanese staff have been allowed in below a “gold card” employment program, which the federal government has aggressively promoted throughout the pandemic.
The inflow helped make Taiwan considered one of final yr’s fastest-growing economies — certainly, one of many few to increase in any respect. And the infusion of expertise — together with Steve Chen, the Taiwanese-American entrepreneur and co-founder of YouTube, who traded San Francisco for Taipei — has energized Taiwan’s tech trade.
Whereas some facets of pandemic life have permeated Taiwan’s borders — temperature checks and hand sanitizing are widespread, and masks are required in lots of public locations (although not colleges) — for essentially the most half, the virus has been out of sight and out of thoughts, because of rigorous contact tracing and strict quarantines for incoming vacationers.
However many surprise how lengthy Taiwan’s standing as a Covid-19 outlier can final, particularly amid vaccine campaigns elsewhere. Officers have been sluggish to acquire and distribute vaccines, partly as a result of there was so no use for them.