Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is a freelance journalist and researcher from Hong Kong. He came to Taiwan initially for an academic conference that was subsequently cancelled due to the virus, and has chosen to stay here as long as he is welcome.
He agreed to answer a few of our questions on living through these most ‘interesting of times’.
Has Taiwan done a good job in its handling of the COVID 19 issue or are there things that could be done better?
The government here has been doing a very effective job preventing a widespread community outbreak, acting quicker than any other government in the world to impose travel restriction, ration essential materials, and keep the public informed.
Taiwan is the only country in the world that has managed to contain the virus shutting down schools, businesses and public services. I’m confident in their performance and there’s nowhere else I’d rather ride out this storm.
How are you spending your time of late – are you living as normal a life as possible or are you on edge because of the virus?
For me, life has largely gone on as usual. Although events like my conference have been called off and people are, sensibly, choosing to go out, socialise, and travel less, we’ve been lucky enough here to not have to resort to extreme measures like complete self-isolation.
As a freelancer I’m able to do my work from virtually anywhere, so this hasn’t been severely impacted.
I am concerned about when I’ll next be able to go back to Hong Kong and see my family and friends without having to worry about being unable to return to Taiwan and see loved ones here.
It’s a concern personally but I do support the government’s efforts to restrict foreign arrivals and prioritise protecting their own citizens, and I recognise that my inconveniences are insignificant compared to the many people whose livelihoods and indeed lives are threatened by the current crisis.
Do you have any long term concerns related to coronavirus?
Unfortunately, I believe we’ll be dealing with the political and economic fallout from this crisis for a long time to come.