Former Taiwan vice president worries about low COVID herd immunity

Chen Chien-jen fears second wave of infection, wants better treatment of migrant workers

Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen. 

Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) on Friday (July 31) listed the major challenges Taiwan would face if a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic takes place domestically, including the country's low herd immunity.

The former vice president urged the public to prepare in case of a sudden upsurge in domestic infections, during a conference on Taiwan's pandemic policies held at National Taiwan University (NTU) Friday morning. He advised every household to store sufficient face masks and keep up their hygiene habits, such as washing hands and taking temperatures on a regular basis.

Chen stressed that individuals will help protect other people by protecting themselves. He added that Taiwan's daily mask production is currently at 21 million per day, so there are enough supplies for everyone, reported CNA.

Addressing the potential second epidemic wave, Chen said he is most worried about the public's low herd immunity. He said the global pandemic situation has worsened and Taiwan needs to buy as much time as possible before a vaccine is developed.

Chen said he believes the only way to return life to normal is by creating a coronavirus vaccine. However, he also expressed concerns over the flu season in winter and said the national health system will be paralyzed once patients start piling up at hospitals.

Meanwhile, Chen also responded to last week's news that a Thai migrant worker tested positive for coronavirus after returning home from Taiwan. He said that society as a whole has not been taking good care of its migrant communities and that it is important to provide a better living environment for them, according to UDN.

Chen said he has faith in the decisions made by the government and health experts, including their reluctance to implement general virus testing. He said the risk of having false positive results is too great for Taiwan right now, especially since it has recorded a low number of infections, reported Heho.