Taiwan warned WHO over the possibility of human-to-human transmission in the virus outbreak in Wuhan back in late December. Perhaps if Taiwan was a member of WHO, its warning would have been heeded.
The National Interest
Date: April 18, 2020
By: Gary Sands
As health care professionals struggle to fight severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes (COVID-19), which has infected over 2 million worldwide and killed over 140,000, the Trump administration has now stepped up several initiatives in a hope to stem the proliferation of the deadly virus.
One such initiative includes the sharing of information among countries battling the coronavirus. To that end, U.S. deputy secretary of state Steve Biegun initiated a video conference on March 21 among members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad), which was initiated in 2007 by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in response to the growing economic and military might of China. The latest gathering of the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) included New Zealand, South Korea, and Vietnam to help address the new challenges brought by the coronavirus. Representatives of these seven Indo-Pacific nations (Quad-Plus) agreed to meet weekly to discuss “vaccine development, challenges of stranded citizens, assistance to countries in need and mitigating the impact on the global economy.”
Among the invitees, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam have all been lauded in international media for their efforts to control the spread of the virus, yet another nation that has won international praise for its successful efforts appears to have been left off the guest list, Taiwan.
With an aged and dense population within proximity (80 miles) to China, along with extensive cross-strait exchanges, Taiwan was expected to have the second-highest number of cases of COVID-19, especially since the outbreak coincided with increased travel for Lunar New Year celebrations. China has also long been the number one destination for Taiwanese seeking work overseas, with some 400,000 Taiwanese working in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Some 2.7 million Chinese traveled to Taiwan from China in 2019, despite Beijing imposing restrictions on individual travel around mid-year. [FULL STORY]