Translation Section Editor
Prof. Chi-Tai Fang, PhD
By this Lunar New Year (2020/01/25), accounts about the spread of an unidentified lung disease have been circulated. The group was formed during the vacation to plan and promote our coronavirus response with high-tech tools under the order of Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai with concerns over people's health.
The Information Team is mainly in charge of the exchange and integration of information. The “Quarantine System for Entry,” the online tracking system for entrants and suspected patients, and the “digital fence” tracking and monitoring system have been developed to help border control and local safekeeping, and the Cases Information Center that verifies and transfers data has also been established.
In addition to acting accordingly to related policies and optimizing the systems, it boosts efficiency by keeping different units on the same page and coordinating these units, including ministries, agencies, and other organs of the Executive Yuan1 and local police systems.
We are careful with our systems' information security. Attacks via e-mail that take advantage of this epidemic were noticed, and they needed to be tackled simultaneously with other operations.
 The Ministry of Health and Welfare, Centers for Disease Control, the National Health Insurance Administration, the National Immigration Agency, the Department of Household Registration, the Department of Civil Affairs, the National Police Agency, and the National Communications Commission.
The information team, which helps with our response to coronavirus with technology, decided to employ smartphones in the execution of home quarantine and isolation after thorough discussions and considerations, as people keep their phones with them all the time.
In protection of individual privacy, the team agreed that the “digital fence” tracking and monitoring system should be established on mobile phone signals. We lower the possibility of community spread in Taiwan by taking control of the execution of home quarantine and isolation.
Individuals’ phone numbers and addresses are documented at their entries, as the law dictates. Phone numbers are confirmed at the spot, and individuals are asked to keep their phones on 24/7 and bring their phones with them everywhere. The National Communications Commission coordinates five Taiwanese telecom operators to locate cases via mobile phone signals. Once signals show that a case has broken from the quarantine, notifications are sent to the case, police systems, and officers in charge of civil and health affairs. Officers, therefore, go to the documented address with an eye to checking with the case. A Case breaking from the quarantine would face penalties such as a fine, compulsory placement, and cancelation of compensation under the exercise of public powers.
The implementation of home isolation and quarantine can help lower the possibility of community spread. As the situation intensifies, numbers of cases under home isolation and quarantine cases increase continuously across the nation. It is with the help of technology that we can make sure efficiently that potential patients comply with home quarantine. The system can be applied in practice comprehensively and quickly for it works via the signals of mobile phones, which are commonly carried around by people. The system, along with the execution of preventive plans by police officers and executives of civil affairs and public health agencies executing preventive plans, boosts management efficiency.
Coronavirus responding systems that help with the implementation of entrants’ self-management of health and home quarantine as well as the “Quarantine System for Entry” have been constantly improved and adapted. As the number of cases under home isolation increases, we have included the executions of bilateral message sending and the “Line Bot caring process” policies in our tracking system to share officers’ workload of keeping in touch with home quarantine cases. We also had information recorded in national health insurance cards of patients that have been appointed to be tested, so that workers at clinics can identify those who didn’t get tested accordingly.
We are discussing the possibility of applying other high-tech tools to analyze data. We see the potential to confirm coronavirus infections earlier and thus provide treatments sooner with the help of artificial intelligence.
By this Lunar New Year (2020/01/25), accounts about the spread of an unidentified lung disease have been circulated. Departments concerned were gathered to discuss the possible developments of this situation and make forward-looking preventive plans during the vacation with concerns over people’s health. On the night of January 28th (the fourth day of the Lunar New Year), discussions on our coronavirus response with high-tech tools, especially in the implementation of home isolation and home quarantine were made by officials from the National Communications Commission, the ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Information Security Administration under the Executive Yuan. After the brainstorming, we decided to employ smartphones in the execution of home quarantine and isolation, as people keep their phones with them all the time. Meanwhile, we agreed that the digital fence system should be established on mobile phone signals to ensure the protection of individual privacy.
We ordered departments concerned to build integrated systems that store all information from a potential patent’s entry to their home quarantines, with an eye to fortifying our coronavirus response through the help of technology. Combining “the quarantine system for entry” with the pandemic tracking system that helps police officers and executives in charge of civil and health affairs and with the “digital fence” tracking and monitoring system on the backend, this set of systems has achieved automation and technologicalization in our coronavirus response and ensured the implementation of each preventive measure.
Translation Associate Editors
Ju-Hsin Ou-Yang, Feng-Yun Fan
Yi-Yun Cheng, Yao-Chung Chang