The Health Minister of Taiwan on May 6 appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide access to first-hand information about the coronavirus, according to reports. Chen Shih-Chung reportedly said that the lack of information slowed the pandemic’s containment efforts in the province after it was banished from WHO on recommendations of China. He urged that the island wanted to have a full picture of the pandemic to be able to control it, as per media reports.
Taiwan’s health officials were quoted saying at the press conference that the island’s exclusion from WHO and objection to membership has aggravated Taiwan and created a gap in the global fight against the COVID-19 disease. Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung was quoted saying that the province needed “proper access” to WHO and first-hand information like the rest of the countries, indicative of China. He added, any second-hand information that was given to the province delayed appropriate containment measures and actions, and distorted the officials’ judgment about the pandemic. The island failed to see woods from the trees, he said metaphorically.
In a list of complaints that it prepared against the WHO, Taiwan accused the organization of listing incorrect data about the death toll and cases for the province. Further, it said that the WHO’s exclusion of Taiwan distorted the island's policies and strategies to control the pandemic that slowed the response and misguided the healthcare system, as per media reports. Taiwan accused the WHO of withholding the information and rejecting the province’s appeals for help due to pressure from China. According to reports, China had blocked the island’s further participation after the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen who China views as a separatist.
In a campaign this month, Taiwan ramped up the efforts to attend the virtual meeting of the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer amid China’s objection, local media reports confirmed. Steven Solomon, the WHO's principal legal officer, told the press conference that the WHO recognized the People's Republic of China as the "one legitimate representative of China", and the body adhered to the U.N. policy since 1971. Therefore, Taiwan's attendance was a bigger question for the 194 member states of WHO as China had assumed the UN seat from Taipei in the 1971 decision.
(Image Credit: Twitter/ @TaiwanPresSPOX)