KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for branding the country a dangerous place to visit while doing nothing to assist in its battle against SARS.
"Except to announce a travel alert on Taiwan and list the country as a highly affected area, the WHO did nothing for Taiwan," Lien said at a KMT meeting to discuss the SARS issue.
"The WHO should not become an organization that merely hands out grades and does nothing else," he said. "That is not what we expect or need from an international organization.
"An ideal international [health] organization should be one that deepens its roots by helping people solve tough medical and health-related issues," Lien said.
A number of health experts were also present at the meeting.
Lien said as the WHO is an agency of the UN, it should work for the benefit of the whole human race because disease sees no national boundaries and no one is exempt from its threat.
"It is inhumane that, at a time like this, Taiwan's 23 million people cannot receive help from the WHO," Lien said.
Lien said he hopes the health organization will soon heed the country's needs and that Taiwan's past history of contribution to the international medical community, as well as its technological advances made in the field, should not be ignored because of the SARS outbreak.
Lien also hit out at the DPP administration for being wrong-footed by the speed of the virus's spread.
"The government did not react quickly enough to stop the SARS epidemic from spreading beyond its initial stages," Lien said.
Lien added that governmental panic and confusion has exacerbated the situation and made the public anxious that not enough is being done to counter the threat of the disease.
Stressing that no one is exempt from the war against SARS, Lien called on the government to draw up prevention procedures to effectively and efficiently fight the potentially deadly virus.