The president of Taiwan said some of its most vulnerable nationals were excluded by Chinese officials on the first flight of evacuees out of Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus epidemic.
President Tsai Ing-wen is also insisting the World Health Organization (WHO) give Taiwan its proper designation and refer to it as “Taipei and environs.”
President Ing-wen pointed out Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, nor does the Chinese Communist Party have any control of it. “We in Taiwan are on the front line of epidemic prevention and deserve the respect of the international community,” Tsai said. “In particular, our participation in the WHO is the key to a very important network for international epidemic prevention work,” as reported by RFA.
“Taiwan’s participation is necessary and crucial,” she said, adding that the Chinese authorities are giving erroneous information about infections in Taiwan to the WHO.
“We have seen a surge in cases,” Tsai said. “That is absolutely clear, which is why we need to participate in the WHO.”
“The information obtained by the WHO was obviously inaccurate … and could cause the WHO to make mistakes in dealing with the global epidemic.”
To make matters worse in the strained relationship between Taipei and Beijing, one passenger who was put on a charter flight at the direction of Chinese officials, later tested positive to the coronavirus, becoming the 11th confirmed case in Taiwan.
Tsai is asking that all future evacuees be arranged by Taiwan, not Chinese Communist Party officials.
“Arrangements for the first evacuation were totally taken over by Chinese officials and didn’t meet the priorities previously agreed by the two sides,” Tsai said on Friday, Feb. 7. “The most vulnerable, especially those who need special treatment, weren’t on the first flight, and they are stuck there still.”
“This has also caused some problems for our quarantine procedures, so we still need to ensure that we give priority to the most vulnerable on the next charter flight, and quarantine them first,” Tsai said.
One passenger, Lin, on the first flight out said that Chinese officials had first contacted Taiwanese businesspeople who live in close proximity to the airport, to be among the first to be evacuated. “They didn’t do any blood tests before we got on the plane, just a body temperature check,” Lin said. “They let anyone on the plane whose temperature wasn’t raised, and there was no protective clothing or isolated seats.”
“We didn’t find out until we got to Taiwan that there was a confirmed coronavirus patient on the plane,” she said. “I’m really angry: how could they have behaved like that?”
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has said in an effort to restrict the infected with the coronavirus to Taiwan, regular passenger flights across the Taiwan Strait will be grounded from Monday through April 29, with the exception of Shanghai, Xiamen, and Chengdu, in a bid to slow the influx of travelers carrying the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, and a total of 979 Taiwanese have applied to the Chinese authorities to be repatriated reported RFA.