In an interview with FRANCE 24, Taiwan's Vice President Chen Chien-jen, an epidemiologist by training, discussed his country's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, while criticising the response of China and the World Health Organization. Chen refused to rule out the "possibility" that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. He also expressed concern about a second wave of the virus appearing in autumn or winter.
Taiwan has some 440 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and so far only six deaths, despite being relatively close to the epicentre of the virus. Vice President Chen Chien-jen told FRANCE 24 his country had been able to control the pandemic because it took a very early decision to quarantine travellers from the Chinese city of Wuhan and quickly isolate and trace confirmed cases. He explained that this rapid reaction was a result of the experience of the SARS outbreak in 2003.
Reacting to the Trump administration's claims that the virus had most likely originated at a laboratory in Wuhan – and not a seafood market as claimed by China – Chen said this theory could not be ruled out but that the only way to know was a thorough scientific probe. "The origin of the virus has to be examined scientifically and so far we can see that the virus originated from Wuhan. Whether it is from a laboratory or from the natural infection sources needs further confirmation," he said, adding that the laboratory theory was "one of the possibilities".
He said that China clearly did not give the true figures of victims of the pandemic, saying that in the early stages, "only severe pneumonia cases were isolated and treated in hospital", thereby underestimating the real figures. [FULL STORY]