Taiwan’s spring 2021 has been wretched after all the positives for the country in 2020 (in terms of international recognition and profile, I mean). The combination of a mass outbreak, the worst drought in decades and the PRC’s meddling and military threats.
As of yesterday, the Plum Rains have finally started to fall, which may finally fill the depleted reservoirs (some as low as 3% capacity) though the potential for flash floods exists. With everyone inside and businesses closed, few people have been affected by them (except for a teen without a driver’s license who drove without permission, killing himself while speeding in rain). If we get two weeks of this, and the combination of new waste water equipment purchased may solve the water problems for the year. China should pay attention to their own problems, considering that floods have already started and threaten to be worse than they had in 2020.
Taiwan’s government did not race to import vaccines because of good management and the island’s isolation. Unfortunately, the selfishness of a few individuals have caused a mass spread that led to at least a month of lockdown, some speculate could last until October. Two weeks in since the emergency and Level 3 procedures were announced, the numbers are starting to decline. If people don’t become lax, it’s possible we could be back to normal by the start of July when vaccines will start rolling out in numbers, both the imported AstroZeneca and locally made Medigen. Thus far, Taiwan’s government has ordered enough doses of Medigen for 5 million people, on top of the doses purchased for import.
150,000 of Moderna doses from Germany landed yesterday, with Japan offering to send some of their supply if needed. For the second time (last year from Poland), China Airlines planes have intentionally flown around PRC airspace. The first time a in 2020, it was because Beijing refused permission. This time it was (my speculation, not proven) to avoid a repeat of Belarus illegally forcing a plane to land. China has been trying to tempt Taiwanese with their substandard vaccine, though few here are willing to accept it. If China were so concerned, why is it meddline in the BioNTech deal, pressuring the company not to ship to Taiwan?
[Addendums, May 31. Local updates and news of the weird.]
Taiwan has decriminalized adultery, though civil suits for personal damages can still be filed. Part of me is thinking, “Is this really a priority? Will people see it as an excuse to start fooling around?” while another is thinking about how it will affect polyamourous relationships. This is coming at the same time that full marriage equality is happening (i.e. people from countries where their marriage is criminalized who marry Taiwanese people).
A man who tested positive for COVID-19 attempted to leave the hospital, and stabbed three nurses who tried to restrain him. The first question everyone is asking is, why the hell wasn’t he searched or his clothes not changed when he was hospitalized? How did he (and why was he allowed) to get a knife into a hospital?
Some people are getting touchy because Dr. Lim Wooi Tee from Singapore said in an interview that Taiwan should go into a full lockdown. I’ve been saying that since May 14, do a two or three week lockdown and get this over quickly. As a lone anonymous voice, I didn’t get much of a backlash, and none of my friends said that would be an overreaction. Dr. Lim, on the other hand, is being harangued by those who want to reopen immediately.
Dr. Lim’s advice may be an overreaction now that Taiwan’s transmission rate is down to 1.02 (which might allow reopening by June 14, as the government planned) but being cautious is not being reckless. The anti-maskers and COVID deniers criticizing Lim are the reckless ones.