Thu, Jan 23, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Tsai urges China to provide information on outbreak

By Yang Chun-hui  /  Staff reporter

Vice President Chen Chien-jen, left, listens at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday as President Tsai Ing-wen makes a statement on Taiwan’s defense measures against the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged China to keep information about a viral outbreak that began in Wuhan public and transparent as she called on the WHO not to exclude Taiwan.

Administration members, including herself, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), were part of the government during the SARS outbreak, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei.

“Today, 17 years later, we have enough experience, enough preparation and enough confidence to face the challenge,” she said, asking the public to go about their lives, but to pay attention to information released by the government.

Tsai’s appeal came just hours before the WHO convened a group of independent experts to advise if the outbreak should be declared a global emergency.

Tsai attended a national security meeting with senior officials, in which she was briefed on the outbreak and gave instructions.

The outbreak is categorized as level 3, she said, adding that the government has established a “central epidemic command center” and a reporting system.

Government agencies have also formed response teams, Tsai said, adding that epidemic prevention measures at the nation’s airports are “very strict.”

Twenty-six people have been tested locally for the 2019-nCoV infection, with one case having been confirmed, she said.

The patient is a woman who arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on a direct flight from Wuhan, Tsai said.

The woman has since been treated and no longer has a fever, she said.

Other passengers and crew members on the same flight would be monitored for 14 days, Tsai said, adding that those with signs of infection would be quarantined, diagnosed and treated immediately.

The government is to work with media platforms, including social media platforms, to broadcast outbreak information, she said.

It is monitoring the situation and would distribute surgical masks and supplies if needed, Tsai added.

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