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Taiwan offers masks and medical aid to foreign countries, angering Beijing

  • Self-ruled island has been frozen out of the World Health Organisation but its strong response to Covid-19 has helped raise its profile
  • Taipei has offered to donate 10 million face masks to countries that are battling the outbreak

South China Morning Post
Date: 5 Apr, 2020
By: Lawrence Chung

Taiwan has intensified its efforts to raise its global profile by offering to donate urgently needed face masks and medical aids to other countries – a move that has angered Beijing.

Observers said Taiwan’s efforts to control the Covid-19 outbreak had highlighted the strengths of its medical system and increased its visibility on the world stage.

It has also been praised by world leaders, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying the EU is thankful for Taiwan’s efforts and gestures of solidarity, while the US state department described Taiwan as a true friend.

But Beijing’s response was less complimentary. Foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said Taiwan prohibited the export of masks when the outbreak was at its height on the Chinese mainland, and said the island should not play any “political tricks” to gain accession to the World Health Organisation.    [FULL  STORY]

MEP: Estonia should raise issue of Taiwan’s inclusion in WHO

Date: April 05, 2020

MEP Urmas Paet said that Estonia should lobby for Taiwan's admittance to the World Health

MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

Organization (WHO).

"Had the World Health Organization (WHO) heeded Taiwan's warnings and shared them with the rest of the world, Europe would have caught onto the new virus earlier," Paet wrote on social media. "Instead, the WHO wanted to please China and ignored Taiwan's warnings. However, the global health crisis is not a place for political games and the WHO should finally understand this," he added.

"As a member of the WHO, Estonia should raise the issue that the WHO must not allow itself to be manipulated by China, and considering the protection of public health, Taiwan should also be admitted to the WHO," Paet said.    [FULL  STORY]

Digestive symptoms first sign of coronavirus for some patients: Study

Researchers say patients with digestive symptoms after possible contact with COVID-19 should be suspected of infection even without respiratory symptoms

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/04/05
By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

(Public domain photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — For some people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the first sign of illness is gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly diarrhea, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology on March 30.

Although most COVID-19 patients first exhibit a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat, digestive symptoms also occur in patients with mild disease severity. The study found that those who exhibit digestive symptoms early on may be more likely to develop respiratory symptoms fever later — or not at all. The findings are important because this subgroup may go undetected, unwittingly spreading the illness to others, according to the researchers.

Conducted by Chinese researchers, the study analyzed data from 206 COVID-19 patients at a hospital in China's Hubei province. Of the 206 patients, 48 (23 percent) exhibited digestive symptoms only, 89 (43 percent) had only respiratory symptoms, and 69 (33 percent) presented with both digestive and respiratory symptoms.

Among the two groups with digestive symptoms (117 patients), diarrhea was seen in 67 of them, of whom 19.4 percent experienced it as their first symptom, according to the study. Diarrhea lasted from one to 14 days, with an average duration of five days and a frequency of four bowel movements per day.    [FULL  STORY]

Disinfection conducted at major tourist hot spots

Focus Taiwan
Date: 04/05/2020
By: Chang Hsiung-feng and Joseph Yeh

Photo courtesy of the Chiayi City Government

Taipei, April 5 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Sunday said it conducted disinfection operations at most of the country's major tourist spots earlier in the day and will do at the remaining sites and Taipei Main Station later the same day as a preventive measure to avoid a potential COVID-19 spike following the 4-day Tomb Sweeping Festival break.

The EPA said as most vacationers returned home from tourist hot spots early Sunday with the holiday drawing to an end, it has asked local disinfection teams to disinfect a number of attractions widely visited during the 4-day break.

The locations disinfected on Sunday morning included the main street of Kenting and other areas in southeastern Pingtung County's Hengchun Peninsula, which is famous for beaches and water sports.

Other sites included Beigang Chaotian Temple in southern Yunlin County; Alishan National Scenery Area in southern Chiayi County; Dongdamen Tourist Night Market in eastern Hualien County; Wusanto Reservoir in southern Tainan City, as well as Xingda Fishing Port in the southern city of Kaohsiung, among others, according to the EPA    [FULL STORY]

Firms’ exits linked to fall in marriages with Chinese

SOUTHBOUND EFFECT? The government’s policy of promoting closer ties with Southeast Asia has resulted in a change to patterns of marriage, a researcher said

Taipei Times
Datge:  Apr 06, 2020
By: Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer

A sharp decrease in the number of Taiwanese marrying Chinese is likely due to businesses relocating away from China, a researcher said on Saturday.

In 2003 there were 34,109 cross-strait marriages registered in Taiwan, but only 6,262 last year, said Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology research fellow Lin Thung-hong (林宗弘), citing information from the Ministry of the Interior.

In 2003 the number of cross-strait marriages was so high that the government began conducting interviews with registrants to filter out fake marriages, Lin said.

“In the early years there were many fake marriages involving Chinese coming to Taiwan for work, but circumstances on both sides have changed,” a Mainland Affairs Council official said on condition of anonymity.    [FULL  STORY]

WHO Official Hangs Up on Reporter’s Taiwan Question

Date: 04 April 2020
By John Gizzi

World Health Organization Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward attends a press conference in Beijing on Feb. 24, 2020, amid the spread of a new coronavirus. (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo

As Taiwan emerges as one of the front-and-center fighters in the international effort to defeat coronavirus, questions are mounting as to why the island-nation is denied membership in the World Health Organization.

Last week, a correspondent from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) asked WHO spokesman Bruce Aylward whether Taiwan would be considered for membership in the United Nations-run health organization.

Aylward hung up on her — on live television.

The incident has become a social media sensation as a topic of discussion worldwide.  On RTHK's series "The Pulse" — roughly Hong Kong's equivalent of "60 Minutes" — an episode focused on how the coronavirus was affecting New York, London, and Lombardy, Italy.    [FULL  STORY]

2 more European tour group members confirmed with COVID-19

Focus Taiwan
Date: 04/04/2020
By: Chang Ming-hsuan and Lee Hsin-Yin

CNA file photo

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) Two more members of a 17-person tour group to Austria and the Czech Republic were confirmed as having contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Saturday, bringing the group's cluster infections to eight, the Central Epidemic Control Center (CECC) said that day.

The two individuals from the group that traveled from March 5-14 showed no symptoms, said Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control and CECC spokesman.

It was not until the CECC learned that six members of the tour group were already infected, including one death, that it recalled all group members for a COVID-19 test and identified the two new cases.

The two patients had developed pulmonary infiltration, Chuang said, adding that the other nine members are still being tested.    [FULL  STORY]

Larger fines necessary for sex harassment: legislator

PEOPLE IN POWER: KMT Legislator Wan Mei-ling said many cases that occur in the workplace involve people abusing their authority to sexually harass colleagues

Taipei Times
Date:  Apr 05, 2020
By: Chen Yun and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff wr

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wan Mei-ling stands behind a sign that reads: “Education must not become chaotic” while speaking at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on March 6.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) is calling for larger fines for sexual harassment, saying that current fines have failed to act as a deterrent amid a growing number of cases.

Over the past 11 years, the number of reported cases of sexual harassment has grown nearly fivefold, but offenders have only been fined about NT$20,000 on average per offense, demonstrating that fines have failed to deter such behavior, Wan said on Friday.

Laws should be amended to increase the fines from the current range of NT$10,000 to NT$100,000 per offense to NT$30,000 to NT$300,000, she said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wan Mei-ling stands behind a sign that reads: "Education must not become chaotic" while speaking at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on March 6.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Citing data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Wan said that the number of reported cases of sexual harassment grew from 154 in 2007 to 546 in 2018.    [FULL  STORY]

Plan for presidential inauguration to be decided by next week

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 03 April, 2020
By: Leslie Liao

President Tsai Ing-wen

Plans for President Tsai Ing-wen’s second inauguration ceremony are set to be confirmed next week. The ceremony will mark the start of Tsai’s second term in office, which she secured in January’s election.

President Tsai had announced in February that she was suspending planning for the ceremony in order to focus on combating the COVID-19 outbreak. On Friday, the Presidential Office said that this year’s inauguration will be simplified.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan Continues to Lead in Fight Against Coronavirus

Date: April 3, 2020
By: Mathew Ha

Taiwan announced on Tuesday that it will provide 10 million masks to countries hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis, including Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This responsible approach contrasts sharply with the hostility and duplicity of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has prioritized the delegitimization of Taiwan over combating the pandemic.

Taiwan has adopted a an extensive plan incorporating 124 steps to fight the virus, including quarantines, increased surveillance, social distancing, and travel bans. Although Taiwan’s first reported infection was on January 21, the Taiwanese government had begun testing for the virus as early as December 31, 2019.

In addition, after hearing about the initial Wuhan outbreaks, Taiwanese health authorities boarded planes arriving from Wuhan to immediately check passengers for symptoms. Taiwan also implemented strict screening measures for all international arrivals and actively traced the interactions of those infected.

Through these measures, Taiwan has kept its infection rates exceptionally low compared to the rest of the world: Taiwan’s population has suffered 329 infections and five deaths.   [FULL  STORY]