President Tsai Ing-wen, asked the World Health Organization (WHO) not to continue blocking her country, Taiwan, while the outbreak of the new deadly type of pneumonia-like virus that broke out in Wuhan is spreading rapidly in China and beyond.

The WHO stopped inviting the island state to its world health events in 2017, when it excluded it citing an agreement with the Chinese regime, which stated that Taiwan is Chinese territory, Taiwan News said.

Tsai argued that the WHO should reconsider its position, as such a decision is due to “political factors,” and plays a role to the detriment of the security of Taiwan’s 23 million people. “Political considerations should not override safeguards for people,” she said.

That is why, at a press conference on Wednesday, she urged authorities of the Communist Party of China to share and communicate all the information it has on the mysterious disease in a transparent manner. 

First case of infection in Taiwan

On Monday, Jan. 20, the Taiwanese Ministry of Health and Welfare confirmed the first case on the island. The carrier was a 55-year-old Taiwanese woman working in Wuhan, the sprawling central Chinese city of 11 million people. SARS also originated in China and spread worldwide 17 years ago.

This time the WHO seems to be reacting as it did with SARS, when it refused requests for information from Taiwanese medical experts. As an additional precaution, the Taiwanese government asked the country’s travel agencies to cancel tourist trips from Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province in order to curb the epidemic.

Meanwhile, the Hubei provincial government reported 17 deaths and a total of 444 cases from the new coronavirus, which continues to spread rapidly throughout China. In Qinghai Province and the occupied Tibet region alone, no cases were reported, according to The Epoch Times.

Figures to date

Throughout China the number of affected people reached 632, while eight were identified abroad: Four cases in Thailand, one in Taiwan, one in South Korea, one in the United States, and one in Japan.

“For Wuhan to have exported cases to other countries would mean that there would be many more cases than have been reported,” Neil Ferguson, a scientist specializing in outbreaks, told the BBC. “That worried me,” he added.

Taiwan’s medical authorities, meanwhile, set up the Central Epidemic Command Center, headed by Center for Disease Control Director General Chou Jih-haw, which has a network of hospitals across the region ready for a possible outbreak of the disease, he announced, calling on citizens to remain calm, Vice President Chen Chien-jen, who was health minister during the 2003 SARS outbreak on the island.

The Chinese Communist Party extended the ban on the free movement of people imposed at the epicenter of the epidemic, the city of Wuhan, to the adjacent towns of Huanggang, Ezhou and Chibi, closing them and declaring them under quarantine.

In these urban areas, the Chinese regime suspended public transportation including buses, subways, ferries, and long-distance passenger transportation, and blocked departures from the cities.