Sun, Feb 09, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: EU lawmakers urge WHO head to make Taiwan an observer

Staff writer, with CNA, BRUSSELS

A pro-Taiwan group in the European Parliament on Thursday expressed support for Taiwan’s bid to join the WHO, amid mounting concerns over the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak that is spreading rapidly worldwide.

In a joint letter addressed to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the European Parliament Taiwan Friendship Group called on the global health body to facilitate Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the WHO to “collectively fight against the devastating epidemic.”

“Taiwan, with its proximity to China and intensive people-to-people contact between both sides, bears the brunt of this epidemic,” the group wrote.

The letter described how Taiwanese experts were excluded from WHO emergency committee discussions in Geneva, Switzerland, making Taiwan the only nation that has confirmed cases to be absent from the meetings.

The letter also said that a misleading report by the WHO on the outbreak, which listed Taiwan as part of China, has led to confusion, with some countries banning flights to and from Taiwan as a result.

“This has created serious problems for Taiwan and is not helpful for the epidemic control and international disease prevention,” the group said.

The group urged the WHO to recognize that Taiwan is not under China’s jurisdiction and that it administers its own health affairs, separately and independently from China.

It asked the WHO to correct the inaccurate listing of Taiwan under China in reports to avoid further confusion by other nations.

The letter was signed by group chairman Michael Gahler and Ivan Stefanec, Kosma Zlotowski, Anna Fotyga, Katalin Cseh, Christophe Hansen, Michaela Sojdrova and Jens Gieseke.

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