Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have had not massive quarantine or shut down. Yet they have had an exceptionally low incidence of COVID-19 infections. The primary reason is said to be the transparency of their governments who give trustworthy information to citizens on a daily basis. Given trustworthy information, citizens have been able to figure out for themselves how to behave responsibly. They figured out these solutions independent of government interference. 

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"One of the problems with the coronavirus has been maintaining a balance between economic activity and containing the infection. In this regard, different from what the southern European countries such as Italy and Spain do, the Taiwanese government's policy is not to take preventive measures to stop the outbreak by impeding economic activities. Taking the schools as an example, the beginning of the course was delayed for two weeks at first. Currently schools' policy is to take students, teachers, and workers' temperatures. If fevers are detected, classes in that school are suspended, but massive class suspensions do not occur. At the same time, online teaching is being encouraged, but is not being forced by the government. In many Taiwanese universities, online teaching is being promoted in order to let those who are not able to attend class in person to take courses. Although it is true that online education as a way to avoid infections has already been adopted in other countries, the peculiarity of Taiwan lies in the fact that it has not been imposed by government order. Not everyone is required to study online or telecommute, but there has been strong encouragement to do so. The government’s transparency of information has also given the Taiwanese enterprises the time they need to voluntarily prepare and adopt teleworking progressively. Other countries instead suddenly shut many businesses down through mandatory government orders, as Spain did on March 13, without giving enterprises and their workers time to prepare for quarantine.

The Taiwanese government is controlling the spread of the infection with flexible policies, which leave much room for individuals to take initiative and make their own decisions. Each individual can take the most appropriate measures for their own situation, having their own incentives to be cautious. Likewise, the fact that the Taiwanese citizens have been warned since the beginning of the infection has created a generalized awareness to make the necessary preparations and has given citizens enough time to assume that they must make changes in their lives in order to avoid being infected.

This flexibility in containment and transparency policies has led to a high degree of individual responsibility. Proof of this is not only in the population's tendency to wear masks that the Taiwanese population, which can be observed in any means of communication, but also in the adoption of new ways of continuing daily activities so as to avoid contagion. Private sectors have also taken quick actions to protect their clients. Most residential buildings have at least one ethyl alcohol dispenser so that everyone who enters can disinfect his or her hands. For example, ethyl alcohol has been available in Uber cars for several weeks.

To conclude, with transparency and diligence the Taiwanese government has avoided many problems. The key is that the Taiwanese government and the Taiwanese people understand that the individual's own responsibility and actions are essential to suppressing the coronavirus pandemic, not a mandatory massive shutdown. This is what the world needs to learn.

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute. 

The Taiwanese government is controlling the spread of the infection with flexible policies, which leave much room for individuals to take initiative and make their own decisions. Each individual can take the most appropriate measures for their own situation, having their own incentives to be cautious. Likewise, the fact that the Taiwanese citizens have been warned since the beginning of the infection has created a generalized awareness to make the necessary preparations and has given citizens enough time to assume that they must make changes in their lives in order to avoid being infected.

This flexibility in containment and transparency policies has led to a high degree of individual responsibility. Proof of this is not only in the population's tendency to wear masks that the Taiwanese population, which can be observed in any means of communication, but also in the adoption of new ways of continuing daily activities so as to avoid contagion. Private sectors have also taken quick actions to protect their clients. Most residential buildings have at least one ethyl alcohol dispenser so that everyone who enters can disinfect his or her hands. For example, ethyl alcohol has been available in Uber cars for several weeks.

To conclude, with transparency and diligence the Taiwanese government has avoided many problems. The key is that the Taiwanese government and the Taiwanese people understand that the individual's own responsibility and actions are essential to suppressing the coronavirus pandemic, not a mandatory massive shutdown. This is what the world needs to learn."

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute.