Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday blasted the WHO for treating Taiwan as part of China in the fight against the new coronavirus, adding that some WHO officials live in a “parallel universe.”
Wu blamed a WHO report on the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) for the decisions made by Italy and Vietnam to ban flights to and from Taiwan as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, accusing it of providing “inaccurate information.”
Italy on Friday announced it would suspend all flights from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan from yesterday to April 28, after confirming two cases of the virus earlier that day.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Vietnam on Saturday afternoon announced a similar ban, for 90 days, but reversed the decision a few hours later.
In the WHO report dated Saturday, “Taipei” was included in a list of provinces, regions and cities of China with confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV. In the table of confirmed cases worldwide, it listed China with 11,821 cases, including cases in Hong Kong SAR (13), Macau SAR (7) and Taipei (10).
The way the figures were presented “led to the misconception that Taiwan is part of China and a seriously infected area,” Wu said.
Taiwan is not a member of the UN and is routinely listed as part of China by UN-affiliated organizations.
Wu said that he suspected the WHO report was a key factor in Italy’s decision, because the suspension of flights was made on the recommendation of Italian health authorities and the announcement used the term “Taipei” and other language similar to that found in the WHO report.
Italy’s flight ban against Taiwan has negatively affected thousands of travelers, and they are not likely to get compensation from airlines or from the WHO, the minister said.
“I would like to publicly call upon the WHO to recognize the simple fact that Taiwan is Taiwan and it is not part of the People’s Republic of China,” Wu said.
Healthcare in Taiwan and China are administered by separate authorities, as are their flight information regions, he said.
Those WHO officials who have praised Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak appear to be living in a “parallel universe,” Wu said.
Vietnam’s no-fly order on Saturday afternoon forced a StarLux Airlines flight to Da Nang to return to the terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport even though it was preparing to take off, while an EVA Airways flight en route to Hanoi was forced to turn around and head back to Taiwan.
The airlines then postponed the departures to 11pm on Saturday.
Although the Vietnamese ban was only in effect for three hours on Saturday, Kaohsiung International Airport data showed that Vietnam Airlines canceled two flights scheduled for yesterday morning, VN581 to Ho Chi Minh City and VN587 to Hanoi.
Flight VN583 to Ho Chi Minh City, which was scheduled to depart at 2:50pm yesterday, was delayed, while flight VN580D from Ho Chi Minh City to Kaohsiung, scheduled to arrive at 3:05pm, was canceled and another flight scheduled to arrive at 12am this morning was delayed.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local