TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At a final campaign rally ahead of Saturday's (Aug. 15) mayoral by-election in Kaohsiung, Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) told supporters of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) party candidate Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) he deserves praise for the country's COVID-19 response.
Taiwan has been lauded for its pandemic preparedness and early containment policies. In Friday's speech, Lai attributed Taiwan's successful containment of the coronavirus to President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) leadership, the teamwork of public health experts, and Chen's strong sense of crisis before the pandemic.
"When the outbreak started, then vice premier Chen insisted on sending an expert team to Wuhan, where Taiwan's health officials believed there were the origins of a new, mysterious SARS-like pandemic, and advocated for tighter border restrictions," said Lai.
"Before the pandemic, Taiwan could only produce 1 million surgical masks per day, but Chen swiftly decided to allocate resources and help qualified mask manufacturers double the daily capacity. As a result, Taiwan can now produce 20 to 30 million masks daily and can even donate tens of millions of masks to other countries in need."
Lai said the credit for controlling the spread of the coronavirus in Taiwan should go to Chen. Furthermore, Kaohsiung's citizens should vote for the former premier as he can lead the city forward if he wins Saturday's election.
Chen worked as a physician before entering politics.