The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday released the virtual reality (VR) video Three Crucial Steps (關鍵三布局) to share Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the world, adding that people would be able to experience it at the Presidential Office Building from next month.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) demonstrated watching the video with a VR headset at a news conference in Taipei.
After the ministry last year introduced VR videos about its Twin Oaks estate in Washington as part of the events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act, it this time is employing VR technology to share the nation’s struggle to contain the pandemic, he said.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
A VR experience section would be set up at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei next month, where visitors can put on VR headsets to experience the video in immersive surroundings, the ministry said.
The video has English-language and Chinese-language versions, with the Chinese version featuring narration by former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), an epidemiologist.
Chen says in the video that when seven atypical pneumonia cases were reported in China at the end of last year, his first thought was: “SARS is coming back.”
Taiwan’s experience in fighting SARS in 2003 prepared it for COVID-19, he said, adding that prudent action, rapid response and early deployment are the three key principles in the nation’s effective response to the pandemic.
Solidarity among 23.7 million Taiwanese and transparency also account for the nation’s success, Chen said.
The pandemic would be effectively controlled across the world if governments and people trust each other, he added.
While it was difficult to buy masks in Taiwan at the early stage of the pandemic, the government in February started working with local engineers to develop more than 100 kinds of applications to check mask stocks at pharmacies, Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) says in the video.
In the following months, online mask pre-ordering systems at different places, including convenience stores, became available, she says.
South Korea followed Taiwan’s example in creating maps displaying mask reserves, which shows that “Taiwan can help,” Tang says.
The key to epidemic prevention is that “no one is safe before everybody is safe,” said Academia Sinica Genomics Research Center research fellow Yang An-suei (楊安綏), whose team in March announced that it had developed a 15-minute rapid test kit for the novel coronavirus.
His team is optimizing the test kit to release it to the market soon, Yang added.
People can visit youtu.be/9QtUzEyvpw4 to view the English-language version of the video.
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