The abrupt outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caught the whole world off guard, challenging the adaptability of both the public and government officials. With the virus spreading rapidly and the global death toll climbing exponentially, health systems are being left drained and overstretched. Nevertheless, Taiwan, which gained valuable experience fighting SARS, has viewed the threat more seriously and has reacted more quickly than many other nations, one example of which was the requisition of television channels by NCC to broadcast information to raise public awareness of the issue. The Taiwan Government has also been closely monitoring schools, hospitals and public transportation systems to control the spread of the virus on the island.
As the new strain of coronavirus runs rampant around the globe, daily news reports have been covering the latest developments, alerting people of how serious the issue has become, informing them about the symptoms and the protective measures they can take. Providing such advice has become a critical component of this communication process. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has released a number of short videos, as well as scrolling captions, concerning the use of surgical masks, social distancing, quarantine procedures, and other policies, such as avoiding unnecessary travel. Starting from January, CECC requisitioned both terrestrial and satellite television channel to broadcast such content. The National Communications Commission (NCC), therefore, held the responsibility to supervise channels during this process.
One of the main advantages of scrolling captions is that they are not limited as to where they can placed on the screen. Specific short videos, on the other hand, can only be broadcast during an appointed period of time; other clips have to be played every other hour on weekdays. As for weekends, NCC stated that assigned clips have to be shown at 12:00 and 18:00 while other clips have to be played ten times from 8:00 to 23:59. Due to the rapid rise in infections, CECC may renew its messages from time to time if policies change. Television companies have also been reminded to stay alert of new updated videos or texts.
Amid the worsening spread of the pandemic, Taiwan seems to be steadying the outbreak due to the timely decisions of authorities, the cooperation of people, and the role of the media, which has been the primary means of providing information on the outbreak to the public. In that light, NCC shall continue to supervise television companies in the channel requisition process, enabling people to receive immediate and accurate information during this time.
Image 1: Video about practical support for people in home isolation on April 8th.
Image 2: CECC issued a video on April 6th, telling people to keep social distance.