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Worshippers in a Taiwan church during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Worshippers in a Taiwan church during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus Diaries: 'When We Work Together, We Achieve the Best Results’

Wednesday April 14

Umav Ispalakan, a divinity student in the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, describes the commitment  to partnership which has helped to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on daily lives.


The weather in Taiwan in April is very comfortable, not too cold or too hot.

It is very suitable for taking a walk outside and enjoying the sunshine. Life in Taiwan is very normal, just with a few small adjustments. Wake up in the morning, meet up with friends, search for restaurants online, book train tickets or high-speed rail tickets, or go for a drive by yourself. You can basically go anywhere or do anything you'd like as long as you remember to put on a mask when you arrive at a convenience store, a train station, or really any indoor public place.

On weekends, we travel to other counties and cities, but there is no hindrance in regards to things like going hiking, eating at delicious restaurants nearby, or taking pictures at tourist attractions. If there is a slight problem, it may be that there are too many people travelling, and there may be traffic jams during the holidays.

Of course, it is not yet possible to travel abroad.  Other than that, there is barely any place we are not allowed to go. This is daily life in Taiwan during the pandemic, and it seems very normal.

The peace and stability we currently enjoy does not come easily. It depends on the joint efforts of many people, and especially due to protection from God. According to a statistical report from the Taiwan Center for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) on April 7, there are 1050 positive cases, 1007 recuperated cases, and 10 deaths so far. The measures put into place by Taiwan's government, along with the high level of vigilance and co-operation from the citizens, has produced effective prevention and control effects. This kept the epidemic from spreading to such an extent that people lose their normal lives. Of course, some subtle things have changed. For example, you must wear a mask when travelling or around other people, pay more attention to whether there are imported cases of Covid-19 from abroad, and try to avoid being in crowded places. Many gatherings were cancelled and converted to online gatherings, and some meetings were turned into online video formats.

Of course, there will inevitably be some false news and rumors. Taiwan has an official frequency network and instant news platforms all over the country so that people can receive true and correct information in the fastest way possible, and this has also helped people during the epidemic to avoid ignorance and panic.

In the course of these large and small adjustments, most Taiwanese people still maintain their normal schedules. Many churches have also urged people who come to church to wear masks, take their body temperature, and try to avoid gatherings with high-density populations.  Early this year, a hospital was infected with severe special infectious pneumonia (Covid-19), which caused nosocomial infections, and thus made the CDC decide to expand home isolation to prevent further spread of the epidemic.

While we thank God for allowing our medical staff and the government to have implemented the perfect measures to protect our country, we also know that not everyone has it as easy as we do. There are many of our brothers and sisters all over the world who are experiencing severe conditions and life struggles. In April 2020, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan released the public announcement of "Please co-operate with epidemic prevention and rescue related ministries", as well as a special fund project for Covid-19 epidemic prevention.

When we are threatened by the epidemic, we do not want to cut ourselves off from the hospitals, counties, and cities that have been burdened the most by Covid-19. Rather, we should follow the instructions of the command center, whether on a group or individual basis, to be best prepared for epidemic prevention. At the same time, we should also give the greatest encouragement and gratitude to those who are on the front line of the epidemic as prevention workers, whether they be doctors, nurses, caregivers, or command center staff. This is because none of us are outsiders. When we work together, we achieve the best results.


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The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Hungary: We Mourn Each Loss
Zambia: Preparing for the Vaccine, and a Third Wave
World Communion of Reformed Churches: The 'Covid and Beyond' Church
Pakistan: Passing the Light
Lebanon: The Lord Will Not Forsake Us
South Korea: 'It is Time For Christians to Hear the Marginalised'
Cuba: Keep Moving On
Canada: Cracks Have Been Exposed
Kenya: Leave No Child Behind
USA: Homes of Prayer
Mozambique: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A Spaniard in Scotland: The Power of Movement
South Sudan: Being Positive
A Nigerian in Scotland: God is in Charge
Trinidad and Tobago: New Frontiers
Czech Republic: A Challenge for Everybody
Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'