Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) yesterday said that a post on Professional Technology Temple (PTT) was what on Dec. 31 last year alerted him about a disease outbreak in Wuhan, China.
At about 3am, a CDC doctor specializing in disease prevention had shared information from a post on PTT, the nation’s biggest online academic bulletin board system, in a private chat group, said Lo, who is also an official at the Central Epidemic Command Center.
The original post was made on PTT at about 2am, he said, adding that as he was CDC spokesman at the time, he often woke up at about 5am to look at reports.
Photo courtesy of Philip Lo
After seeing the information his colleague had shared, Lo said that he “felt, from a professional standpoint, that it was different from typical tip-offs.”
The PTT user — identified as “nomorepipe” — had included key images in their post, including a screenshot of messages sent by Chinese doctor Li Wenliang (李文亮) indicating that “seven cases of SARS” had been confirmed as originating from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, he said.
Lo said that he became alarmed when saw “SARS.”
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name that has since been given to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Lo said that the lack of a date or official stamp in an examination report shared in the PTT post made him believe that it had been shared by a doctor after receiving the results.
Moreover, the messages in the screenshot looked like they were leaked from an internal chat group for medical personnel, Lo said, adding that this made the information seem more credible than other tip-offs.
Lo expressed thanks to the whistle-blowers in China, especially Li, and the PTT user, who allowed Taiwan to gain quick access to the information and succeed in its prevention efforts.
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