TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese people and health experts were recently bursting with anger and frustration for being excluded over a decade-long from WHO membership after the government confirmed one imported case of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Tuesday (Jan. 21).
For years, Taiwan has warned that Beijing's attempt to block it from WHO membership would hinder an effective global response to a public health crisis, as the organization does not collect the virus data from the island country.
A Taiwanese health expert expressed her frustration that Taiwan has been treated as a non-governmental organization and the health and lives of 23 million people have been put in jeopardy because of the silence of other member nations in the face of Chinese bullying.
The physician reminds the world that when Taiwanese people were excluded from the global public health network 16 years ago, Taiwan Academia Sinica’s Dr. Wong Chi-huey (翁啓惠) led a team to develop solutions to counter the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus and share them with the world. However, the WHO failed Taiwanese people despite the contributions they have made to the world.
The expert proceeded to say, however, that China has been hiding the spread of the disease and the true scale of the outbreak, causing numerous fatalities to the rest of the world. And yet how come such a country is still able to exercise its influence to exclude Taiwan from entering the WHO?
The expert said the organization is shameless and hypocritical, failing to adhere to the UN values of integrity, equity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. Meanwhile, it is infringing on human rights by not allowing people from one part of the world to be informed of the threat of a deadly illness.
Taipei Mayor and physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Wednesday (Jan. 22) that Taiwan should participate in the WHO and that there is no reason the island country should have been excluded for so long, thereby slowing down the world's response to the public health risk. "It is so wrong that the WHO doesn't open its doors to Taiwan," said Ko.
Ko also urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips to the Chinese city Wuhan recently to avoid bringing home viruses.