The nation has donated 100,000 masks to Ethiopia, showing that “Taiwan can help” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ home country combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The ministry wrote on its official Twitter account that “#TaiwanCanHelp #Africa, as well as @DrTedros’ home country, combat #Coronavirus,” along with a photograph showing both countries’ national flags on boxed masks.
Taiwan-WHO tensions spiked after Tedros in April accused Taiwanese of having launched racist attacks on him for months and said that the ministry also joined the attacks.
Screen grab from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twitter account
Despite unprecedented support for Taiwan’s bid to join the global health body, it was denied participation at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), whose 73rd session took place as a virtual meeting on May 18 and 19.
As Ethiopia had reported 3,954 confirmed cases and 65 deaths as of Friday, Taiwan made the donation to show that “Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping,” the ministry said in a news release.
The masks were transferred to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health for distribution, it said.
The foreign ministry was asked whether Ethiopia requested the masks, but no response was given as of press time last night.
Tedros was Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs from 2012 to 2016 and minister of health from 2005 to 2012. In July 2017, he became the first person from Africa to serve as the WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.
A ceremony marking the donation took place at the Ethiopian embassy in Pretoria on Thursday, which was attended by Representative to South Africa Matthew Chou (周唯中) and Ethiopian Ambassador to South Africa Shiferaw Teklemariam, the foreign ministry said.
As Taiwan does not have a representative office in Ethiopia, its diplomatic affairs with it are managed by the Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa, it said.
“The donation of the surgical masks is just the first step for Taiwan to join Ethiopia’s efforts to fight against the coronavirus pandemic together in Africa,” Chou was quoted as saying in a statement released by the office.
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