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Mayor Joins Counterparts at Global Views Leaders Forum

Mayor and his counterparts from New Taipei and Taoyuan at the Global Views Leaders ForumOn December 7, Mayor Ko Wen-je attended the Global Views Leaders Forum organized by the Global View Magazine. He joined New Taipei Mayor Hou You-yi and Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan in a discussion session focusing on the aftermath of COVID-19 upon cities and leading citizens through the crisis, as well as exchanging views on the social transitions in the post-pandemic world.
 
Ko began his presentation on Taipei’s pandemic prevention measures by sharing his perspectives: both as a doctor tackling a health crisis and as a CEO dealing with a business crunch. He stressed that rationality, practicality, and science are the principles he adopted, as well as respect for professionals.
 
Citing COVID-19 as an example, the mayor pointed out that scientific facts about the virus is straightforward: the incubation period can last between 5 through 14 days, and nearly 43% of the patients are asymptomatic. Taipei’s statistics indicate that individuals 65 or older account for 97% of COVID-related deaths, showing how it can be fatal to the elderly. Recognizing the problem is the first step to solving a problem, remarked the mayor.
 
He also believes in enterprise management which emphasizes SOP and flow charts. The mayor commented that pandemic prevention measures, financial relief, economic stimulus, and industry transition evolved into practical policies as the city learns how to cope with the pandemic. While we saw growth in areas such as e-commerce, stock market, and real-estate market, there are areas in our economy which suffered major blows as well. This could be seen from the alarming number of applicants for unemployment benefits and emergency relief. This is why he made the decision to reopen businesses at Ningxia Night Market, as long as they operate under the guideline of pandemic prevention measures. 
 
Regarding economic transition, the mayor admits that it is unlikely that the world can return to pre-COVID-19 days, which means that businesses must undergo transition and adapt accordingly. Crisis often appear hand-in-hand with opportunity, and the mayor cited cashless transaction as a good example. In the past, the senior gift money for Double Ninth Day requires intense labor investment – involving numerous city staff and borough office workers moving cash. Since the pandemic, more senior citizens are willing to collect their bonus money via their senior citizen EasyCard.
 
The mayor also sees politics as an area that requires professionalism. Over the past two years, he believes that Taiwan puts too much emphasis on pandemic prevention. However, given that the pandemic will eventually subside, we will still have to confront major challenges such as climate change, rising tensions between China and US, economic inequality, and inflation. As for how to deal with the pandemic, he explained that what needs to be done will be done. The city government has its own task force dealing with the pandemic, and he believes that other key issues should be tackled with a professional attitude as well.