纽约时报双语:台湾靠封锁成功抗疫,但能持续多久?

台湾靠封锁成功抗疫,但能持续多久?
How Taiwan Plans to Stay (Mostly) Covid-Free
RAYMOND ZHONG
2021年1月4日
纽约时报双语:台湾靠封锁成功抗疫,但能持续多久?

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Consider for a moment, in this time of anguish and loss and death, of mass unemployment and flattened national economies, the Twilight Zone alternate reality that is Taiwan.

台湾台北——想想看,在这个充满痛苦、失去和死亡以及大规模失业和国家经济萧条的时刻,台湾成了《迷离时空》(Twilight Zone)里的平行现实。

For months and months, life on the island has been, in a word, normal — spookily so. Weddings have been held, worry free. People have packed pro ball games, attended cello concerts and thronged night markets. Taiwan’s population is larger than Florida’s, but its Covid-19 death toll can be counted on two hands.

月复一月,这座岛上的生活一言以蔽之,是正常的——诡异的正常。婚礼上无人感到担忧。职业球赛、大提琴音乐会和夜市都人山人海。台湾人口比佛罗里达州还多,但其新冠死亡人数用两只手都数得过来。

It is the kind of off-the-charts success against the virus that has created a sinking feeling in the stomachs of many residents: How much longer can the island’s good fortune last?

正是这种对抗病毒的惊人成功,让许多居民都感到不安:这座岛的好运还能持续多久?

For Chen Shih-chung, Taiwan’s health minister and head of its epidemic command center, success is all the more reason not to waver on the bedrock of the government’s coronavirus strategy. The island has been sealed off to most visitors since March. People who are allowed to enter still have to quarantine under tight watch for two weeks, including Taiwanese citizens.

对台湾卫生部长兼流行疫情指挥中心指挥官陈时中来说,抗疫的成功使台湾更有理由不动摇政府新冠病毒战略的基石。自去年3月以来,该岛已对大多数旅客封闭。被允许入境的人也需在两周内进行严格隔离观察,包括台湾公民。

The high walls have kept the island from being deluged with infections, but they risk isolating Taiwan economically and politically if the rest of the world relaxes its defenses as vaccinations get underway.

这些高墙使该岛免于传染的肆虐,但如果世界上其他国家接种疫苗,放松防御,它们也有可能使台湾陷入经济和政治孤立。

The government is not likely to budge on those policies until there are vaccines that are a proven, lasting weapon against the virus, Mr. Chen said in an interview. Taiwan will not be like one of those places, he suggested, that eased lockdowns under public pressure only to have to tighten them again later.

陈时中在一次采访中表示,政府不太可能在这些政策上让步,除非出现一种被证明是对抗病毒的持久武器的疫苗。他表示,台湾不会像其他地方一样,在公众压力之下放松封锁,后来又不得不再次收紧。

“I believe there will be another wave,” he said. “Because everybody thinks, ‘I’ve gotten the vaccine, or I’m getting the vaccine next week, I’ve waited so long, I can be free now, right?’”

“我认为还会有一波,”他说。“因为大家都觉得,‘我打了疫苗,或者我就下个礼拜我就要打了,我等了这么久,我应该free(自由)了,对不对?’”

Once there is more evidence about whether the current vaccines offer enduring immunity, “only then can we really start to relax a bit,” he said.

一旦有更多证据表明目前的疫苗能提供持久免疫力,“那个时候才可以真的比较稍微放松一些,”他说。

As vaccinations begin around the globe, the question of how and when to ease Covid border controls will also confront other places, such as Australia and New Zealand, that have used their geographic insularity as a primary defense against the pandemic.

随着全球各地开始接种疫苗,其他地方也将面临如何以及何时放松新冠边境管制的问题,如澳大利亚和新西兰,他们将其地理上的岛国性质当做了抵御疫情的主要手段。

Taiwan has already held fast to its entry restrictions and quarantines for much longer than many governments could without facing a big public backlash. The island’s economy has slowed along with the world’s during the pandemic but it continues to grow at a decent clip.

在没有遭到公众强烈反对的情况下,台湾坚守入境限制和隔离措施的时间已经比许多政府都要长得多。在疫情期间,该岛的经济与世界经济一样放缓,但仍以相当快的速度增长。

Japan and South Korea, two other Asian democracies praised for their virus responses, are now grappling with large flare-ups of new infections.

日本和韩国是另外两个应对疫情措施受到称赞的亚洲民主国家,但如今都在狼狈应对大规模暴发的新感染。

But as successful and tireless as Taiwan’s health officials have been, the island has also benefited from sheer good luck, said C. Jason Wang, an associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

斯坦福大学医学院(Stanford University School of Medicine)副教授王智弘(C. Jason Wang)说,台湾卫生官员用不懈努力取得了成功,但该岛也得益于纯粹的好运气。

With the case count surging globally and a more contagious variant of the virus circulating in many places, greater numbers of infected people are bound to arrive at Taiwan’s borders, Dr. Wang said. Which means it is only a matter of time before more positive cases slip past the government’s defenses.

王智弘说,随着全球病例的激增,以及一种更具传染性的病毒变种在许多地方传播,更多感染者必然会抵达台湾边境。这意味着更多阳性病例逃脱政府的防御只是时间问题。

Taiwan on Wednesday confirmed its first case involving the new variant, in a person who had entered from Britain, tested positive and been hospitalized. In response, the government further tightened its entry bans and quarantine rules.

上周三,台湾确认了首例涉及这一新变种的病例,来自英国的患者检测呈阳性,已经住院治疗。作为应对办法,政府进一步收紧了入境禁令和隔离规定。

“It’s remarkable that Taiwan has held the line for so long,” Dr. Wang said. But even if the island vaccinates its population by the middle of 2021, “then you’ve still got six months to go,” he said. “It’s really difficult to keep this up for another six months.”

“台湾能坚持这么长时间是很了不起的,”王智弘说。但即便该岛在2021年年中为居民都接种疫苗,“也还要等六个月时间,”他说。“要再这么坚持六个月真的很难。”

For Mr. Chen, 67, 2020 was a year of tough calls, even as he has pulled off a virus response that would be the envy of any public health official on the planet.

对67岁的陈时中来说,2020年是充满艰难决定的一年,尽管他的病毒应对取得了成功,令世界上任何卫生官员都羡慕不已。

In a recent opinion poll, Mr. Chen, a dentist by training, received a higher approval rating than any other top official, including his boss, President Tsai Ing-wen. He is being talked about as a potential candidate for mayor of Taipei, the island’s capital. His cool, unflappable mien at the government’s epidemic news briefings has won him an odd kind of celebrity. It is not every middle-aged health minister who is photographed clad in Gucci for the local edition of GQ.

在最近一次民调中,牙医出身的陈时中获得的支持率高于所有高层官员,包括他的上司蔡英文。他被认为是台湾首府台北市长的潜在人选。他在政府疫情新闻发布会上冷静、镇定的样子为他赢得了奇特的人气。并不是每个中老年卫生部长都会穿着古驰(Gucci)行头为《GQ》本地版拍摄大片。

Yet in Mr. Chen’s telling, his decisions since the outbreak started have upset certain people at almost every turn. Like when he barred medical workers from leaving the island in February. Or when he announced in March that the island was forbidding entry by nearly all nonresidents.

但陈时中说,自疫情暴发以来,他的几乎所有决定都会使某些人感到不安:比如2月时他禁止医务人员离开该岛时,或是3月他宣布该岛禁止几乎所有非居民入境时。

Many of the Taiwanese government’s ideas about dealing with the virus came from “feeling around in the dark,” Mr. Chen said.

陈时中说,台湾政府许多应对病毒的想法都来自“在黑暗中的摸索”。

For instance, when a cluster of infections appeared on the Diamond Princess cruise liner in February, officials in Japan, where the boat had docked, allowed many passengers who tested negative to walk free. Some of them later tested positive. Taiwan took note.

比如去年2月时,钻石公主号邮轮出现了聚集性感染,这艘船当时停靠在日本,当地官员允许许多检测呈阴性的乘客自行离开。他们其中一些人后来被检测出阳性。台湾注意到了这一点。

“By then it became very clear to us,” Mr. Chen said. “After you test, you have to quarantine both the positives and the negatives.”

“所以我们那时候就很清楚,就是说,一旦要验,阴阳都要隔离,”陈时中说。

Taiwan’s emphasis on strict quarantines has helped contain infections without overwhelming its hospital system or incurring huge costs for testing. But some experts are now urging the government to test more widely, particularly at the border, to catch more cases that do not show symptoms.

台湾强调严格的隔离措施,这有助于遏制感染,同时不会令医院系统不堪重负,也不至于产生巨额检测成本。但一些专家现在敦促政府进行更广泛的检测,以便发现更多无症状感染者,特别是在边境。

“We came up with many of our policies when there were a few million infections around the world,” said Chan Chang-chuan, a professor at the College of Public Health at National Taiwan University. “But now there are tens of millions, and we’re heading toward a hundred million. It’s a whole different stage.”

“我们很多的措施都(是)在全球在百万感染的时候想的嘛,那现在是几千万,要往上亿走的不同的阶段,”国立台湾大学公共卫生学院教授詹长权说。

Mr. Chan said he believed Taiwan should begin testing everyone at the border, not just quarantining them. It has already started doing this for people arriving from Britain, where the more transmissible variant of the coronavirus has been found to be circulating.

詹长权说,他认为台湾应该开始在边境对所有人进行检测,而不仅仅是隔离。台湾已经开始对来自英国的入境者采取这一措施——目前更具传染性的新冠病毒变种正在英国传播。

Taiwan’s position has been that carriers of the virus who are asymptomatic after 14 days of isolation are not likely to be very infectious. Mr. Chen said he had no doubt that there had been some asymptomatic cases that never made it onto the government’s radar.

台湾的观点是,隔离14天后仍然无症状的病毒携带者不太可能具有很强的传染性。陈时中说,他毫不怀疑有一些无症状的病例从未被政府发现。

“But if those infections are not causing problems, then should I spend a lot of energy trying to find those people?” he said. “Or should I focus my efforts on infections that are already causing problems?”

“可是问题是,他的病没有产生问题,那我是不是要花很大的力气去把这些不会产生问题的人找出来?还是我要集中精神去做这些现在已经有问题的?”他说。

It is unclear how much of a gamble this approach has involved. A study published in The Lancet in October found that out of 14,765 people whose blood was sampled at a Taipei hospital, a lower share tested positive for coronavirus antibodies than in other countries. Yet the share could still imply a much higher number of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections than is reflected in Taiwan’s official case numbers, the study’s authors wrote.

目前还不清楚这种做法有多大的风险。去年10月发表在《柳叶刀》(The Lancet)上的一项研究发现,在台北一家医院接受抽血的14765人中,新冠病毒抗体为阳性的比例低于其他国家。该研究的作者写道,尽管如此,这一比例仍意味着无症状或轻症感染者的人数可能远高于台湾官方病例数所反映的情况。

“Basically, it’s a trade-off between how much money you want to spend and how much risk you want to take,” said Dr. Wang, the Stanford professor. As the global case count swells and more infections are likely to leak into Taiwan, “then it’s a matter of how much leakage you want in your house.”

“基本上,这是在想花多少钱和想承担多大风险之间权衡,”斯坦福大学教授王智弘说。随着全球病例数量增加,可能会有更多感染渗漏到台湾,“问题就在于你想让你的房子里漏进来多少。”

Dale Fisher, a professor in infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore, contrasted Taiwan’s tight border policies with Singapore’s more “nimble” approach. The city-state recently lifted restrictions on travelers from Taiwan, but Taiwan did not reciprocate.

新加坡国立大学(National University of Singapore)传染病学教授戴尔·费舍尔(Dale Fisher)将台湾严格的边境政策与新加坡更为“灵活”的做法进行对比。新加坡最近取消了对台湾游客的限制,但台湾没有对此作出回应。

“We think that even if a traveler brought it in, we think there’s a good chance it wouldn’t spread anyway,” Dr. Fisher said. “If you’ve got no faith in your system, then that would make you keep the borders harder.”

“我们认为,即使有旅行者把病毒带进来,它也很有可能不会传播,”费舍尔说。“如果你对自己的系统没有信心,那就会让你更难守住边境。”

The real test for Taiwan, he said, is if the vaccines do not end up offering long-lasting immunity and the world needs to live with Covid for longer. How well would Taiwan’s people bear being sealed off from the wider world for another year? Another five years?

他说,台湾面临的真正考验是,如果最终疫苗不能提供持久的免疫力,世界需要与新冠病毒共存更长的时间。台湾人民能忍受与外界再隔绝一年吗?再隔绝五年呢?

“This is why we’d say close your borders if you just want to buy time to get yourself organized,” Dr. Fisher said. “But don’t think of it as a strategy.”

“所以我们会说,如果你只是想争取时间让自己做好安排,那就关闭边境,”费舍尔说。“但是不要把它当成一种策略。”

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