Taiwan health minister defends case for WHO membership

Chen emphasizes Taiwan's contributions to global fight against coronavirus pandemic in Times of India

Shoppers wearing masks at market in Indian state of Jammu. 

Shoppers wearing masks at market in Indian state of Jammu.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) asserted the World Health Organization (WHO) needs Taiwan in order to “recover better” from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in an op-ed published by the Times of India Thursday (Oct. 29),

Chen started out by explaining how the island nation had contained the virus by applying “prudent action, a rapid response, advance deployment, openness, and transparency.” Home quarantines, meticulous border controls, precise screening, and accessible information all played a part in Taiwan’s campaign, he wrote.

The minister also mentioned the country’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic on a global scale. Taiwan had donated 51 million surgical masks, 1.16 million N95 masks, 600,000 isolation gowns and 35,000 forehead thermometers to more than 80 countries, he said.

Taiwan is “actively collaborating with domestic and international partners to obtain vaccines and develop optimal treatments and accurate diagnostic tools, jointly safeguarding global public health security,” Chen added.

Nevertheless, China is still trying to block Taiwan’s access to the WHO. The pandemic has made the world aware of the island country’s exclusion from the global organization, so Taiwan should be allowed to work with the rest of the world to realize the fundamental human right to health as stipulated in the WHO’s own constitution, the minister concluded.