The United States and Taiwan both diagnosed their first case of COVID-19 on almost the same day – January 21. But today, Taiwan has 235 cases while the US has almost 69,000.
Taiwan has received praise for its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which is why some Taiwanese students at BYU and BYU-Idaho are risking international travel and quarantine to return home.
James Chen, a student at Brigham Young University, said he was nervous when he first heard about the virus spreading in Asia.
“In the states, people didn’t take it that seriously,” says Chen. “That’s why I decided to go back to Taiwan.”
Chen says that on the way back to Taiwan, he was one of only six people on the plane. The Taiwan airport was empty too.
Chen is required by the Taiwanese government to stay home under quarantine for 14 days. “It’s kind of boring, to be honest,” says Chen. “But I feel like I think I made a good decision to come back to Taiwan.”
Anna Wang, a Taiwanese student at BYU-Idaho, says she made the decision to return to Taiwan after discussing options with her mom.
“I wore two layers of masks, I wore a raincoat on the plane, so I was prepared,” says Wang. Wang says life under quarantine is strict. “Every morning, I will check on my body temperatures and I will write them down. The village clerk will call me every day to see how my body is doing.”
Wang says she too feels good about her decision: “I really want to do this for me and for my family. I feel so happy to be back home in Taiwan.”