US Senator Cory Gardner and six other Republican senators on Friday urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to grant Taiwan “observer” status in the global agency’s fight against the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Gardner, chairman of the US Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, published on his Web site the letter cosigned by US senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Jim Inhofe, Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz.
The WHO on Thursday declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, while lauding Beijing, saying: “China quickly identified the virus and shared its sequence so that other countries could diagnose it quickly and protect themselves, which has resulted in the rapid development of diagnostic tools.”
In contrast, the letter was critical of China, saying it “hid details about the spread of 2019-nCoV and arrested those who attempted to alert the Chinese public in January.”
“Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO is an act of aggression that harms the international public health community’s ability to coordinate effectively,” the letter read.
“It is an unacceptable health hazard to the 23 million people of Taiwan to rely on a demonstrably unreliable PRC [People’s Republic of China] to receive information from the WHO. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Asia for both passengers and freight,” they wrote.
“The hazards of relying on the PRC to facilitate a common understanding have regional implications, especially for Asian countries that lack Taiwan’s advanced healthcare system,” they wrote.
The senators urged the WHO to “grant Taiwan observer status at WHO meetings and gatherings,” and provide “Taiwan with the information and assistance they need to deal with this latest outbreak” in the interim.
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