The main recording was done on March 30th, 2021. Recently in June 2021, our special correspondent on the ground in Sweden also provided a quick update to give us a sense of progress being made since late March in that country.
Ever since the reporting of the first confirmed case of Covid in Sweden in February 2020, followed by the initial outbreak in March 2020, the government chose a “no shutdown” strategy contrary to its Nordic neighbors. However, as cases and deaths mounted, it too began to implement restrictive measures to somewhat limit personal freedoms in its attempt to contain the spread of Covid. Uniquely among OECD countries though, in its fight against Covid, Sweden has opted to keep its schools open so far.
Fast forward to June, Sweden with its vaccine roll-out, appears to be keeping Covid under control. With almost 40% of its eligible population vaccinated now, Sweden with a population of 10 million has seen its recent 7-day average case numbers below 2,000 compared to highs in the 5,000s to 7,000s in previous waves.
Since late March, Taiwan on the other hand has witnessed a dramatic reversal of fortune in its Covid fight. Upon a surge of domestic cases in mid-May, Taiwan too has joined the rest of the world in implementing measures to limit personal freedoms. Schools, many retail businesses and offices are to be kept partially or completely closed until June 29. There is a silver lining. After more than a year of being sheltered from the ravages of Covid, Taiwan is now in a position to wisely reap some hindsight benefits from other countries as it is to go through what other countries like Sweden had gone through more than a year ago, e.g., likely problem areas to be dealt with: outbreaks among the vulnerable groups including seniors, migrant workers, etc. If handled properly, Taiwan can hopefully stay ahead of the curve given its “second mover” advantage.