Indigenous Villages Go Above and Beyond
This wave of COVID-19 snuck in by surprise. Starting in mid-May the number of cases started to rise. By the May 19, Taiwan was on soft lockdown.

In the past, diseases such as SARS and H1N1 heavily impacted indigenous villages. Therefore, Taitung’s indigenous population has been very stringent in terms of disease prevention.

Despite this, some people have wanted to visit Taitung’s indigenous communities. Travel is a major strain on indigenous communities during an outbreak because of their limited medical facilities and large elderly population.
Starting on May 18, Lidao, a village on the Southern Cross-Island Highway, closed itself to visitors. The village council has also prohibited outsiders from visiting popular destinations such as Lisong Hot Spring, Jiaming Lake and Jiemaosi Mountain.

Darumak Village, another tourist destination, attracts people hoping to escape the summer heat. Knowing this, residents closed off their village to outside visitors. They set up disease prevention stations at the village entrance. These stations register when residents come and go as well as teach people about disease prevention.

In Taimali, the Center for Family Services went a step further. They placed hand-painted signs around the village to spread disease prevention awareness. These signs are written in Chinese and the local indigenous language. This ensured that all of the elderly residents could learn about disease prevention protocols such as wearing face masks, hand washing and social distancing.

Some feared social distancing would be especially challenging for the elderly in indigenous villages. Many elderly residents go to Indigenous Culture Centers for in person social support. Fortunately, Indigenous Culture Centers adjusted after this recent COVID-19 outbreak. Now residents can get “care calls” via telephone and have lunches delivered to their houses.

These indigenous tribes have the support from the Taitung County Government. On June 4, Taitung County Magistrate April Yao visited one of the indigenous disease prevention stations. Magistrate Yao stated their hard work has let many people quarantine at home in peace and comfort.

Even though indigenous communities are stricter than others, it’s for good reason. Keeping COVID-19 away from the young and elderly is of the utmost importance.

Standing with Medical Personnel

When it comes to COVID-19 prevention, medical personnel have the toughest job. The nature of their work puts them at high risk for being infected.

The people of Taitung recognize the sacrifices medical personnel make for the greater good. Therefore, the public has been donating everything from drinks to disease prevention equipment to hospitals around the county. Although large charity organizations are also getting involved, it’s especially moving to see those with lesser means really making sacrifices to support disease prevention.

One such organization, Mind Farm, is a place that provides employment for young people that are physically and mentally handicapped. After Taiwan went on soft lockdown in May, Mind Farm’s bakery and restaurant had to close. However, their employees are especially vulnerable to any disruption in income. Therefore, Mind Farm’s management team came up with a plan to keep business going while supporting disease prevention.
Starting on June 2, they started sending 250 protein rich Bento Boxes to each one of Taitung’s four hospitals every day. The funds for the lunch boxes came through individual donations from the public. Mind Farm will continue sending lunch boxes every day until all 10,000 are distributed in the upcoming months.

To reduce the risk of transmission, doctors and nurses have to stay in the hospital for at least a week when treating COVID-19 patients. These bento boxes and donations like the 500 drinks from a real estate company, help medical personnel get through such a challenging time.

Other donations include much needed disease prevention equipment. In COVID-19 wards, doctors have to fully change their protective clothing, face mask and googles every time they come in contact with patients. This means changing into brand new protective gear around five times a day. Even though the hospital provides medical personnel with equipment, they are moved by donations like the 300 pairs of protective glasses from Taitung’s Apple Glasses Store.

This generosity is a reminder that the entire community is behind disease prevention efforts. To show your support, you can also donate and practice good disease prevention. The more vigilant we are, the faster medical personnel will be out of harm’s way.
Local stores Transform to
Overcome the Epidemic
Two of Taiwan’s most populous cities, Taipei and New Taipei City, announced that restaurants and market stalls can only provide takeout meals on May 24. Local restaurants in Taitung have also proactively suspended operations or begun offering takeout services amid a freeze in business as people stay at home to avoid COVID-19.

The Taitung County Government then announced that all restaurants in the county are banned from indoor eating and drinking on May 26. All restaurants and eateries must carry out epidemic prevention measures and increase the frequency of disinfection. Post Pandemic Era has transform the life styles of public. Eating habits, social styles, and entertainment styles are all accelerating to “Stay-At-Home Economy.”

Local restaurants introduced takeout or delivery discounts to make up for business losses. Wa Ga Li Gong Surf & SUP House & Bar and Sweet Night Kitchen provides foreign cuisine for customers to take out. LowPressure Restaurant & Surf Guesthouse starts selling exclusive sauce packets. Some of the agricultural products even offer deliver service, for example, summer snow mango. The eating habit transformation overcomes the epidemic as well as helps the public to avoid the risk of group infection.

Here are some tips to protect yourself while ordering takeout and getting delivery services. First, please wear a face mask while waiting for your food. Moreover, maintain social distance and do not eat with friends. Second, use your own utensils. The tableware provided by restaurants may not have outer packaging and are often placed where people pass by. Third, use contactless payment through your mobile device. Making change and taking paper money may increase the risk of transmission. When getting takeout or delivery, contactless payment should be used as much as possible. Last, contactless food pick up. Hooks can be set at the door of your house to avoid direct contact with your delivery person. In addition, the delivery staff is required to wear a mask while delivering meals.

The most important thing to do in terms of staying safe is to clean your hands before eating. The public should eat well-cooked food and avoid raw food during the epidemic. Ultimately, cooking at home is the best way to avoid infection during the pandemic. Stay safe and remain vigilant during these trying times.

Coming Events

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* PLEASE NOTE: Event dates are subject to change or cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to the websites of specific events for more information.