The WHO’s designation of COVID-19 as a global pandemic came too late, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday.
Chen, an epidemiologist by training, made the remark at a tree-planting event in Taichung.
On Tuesday, Chen said on Facebook that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ warning to nations that the mortality rate of the disease was increasing was empty, as Tedros failed to look at individual nations’ testing policies.
Photo: Chang Hsuan-che, Taipei Times
“When you see the number of confirmed patients decreasing and the mortality rate increasing, you should pay attention to how that nation is conducting tests,” Chen said.
The number of confirmed cases is related not only to the nation’s population, but also virus test coverage, he said.
Nations only testing people with evident and advanced symptoms will see a low number of confirmed cases and low incidence rates, while those that inspect all who come in contact with confirmed patients would see higher numbers of confirmed patients and incidence rates, he added.
Italy, South Korea, Iran and China lead the world with five confirmed cases per 100,000 people, while the incidence rate in Taiwan, Japan and the US are among the lowest globally at less than 0.5, Chen said.
When fatality rates are included in the equation, nations that limit their calculations to confirmed patients with advanced symptoms will see a higher mortality rate, he said.
The fatality rate is determined by age, history of chronic disease and quality of medical care, he added.
Tedros’ comments simply sparked unnecessary panic and were unbecoming of someone in his position, Chen said.
Prior to his entry into politics, Chen was trained in the field of public health and holds a doctorate in epidemiology and human genetics from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a former president of Academia Sinica.
Additional reporting by CNA
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to