A group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators have donated 2,300 protective medical gowns to Osaka, Japan, to aid in its efforts to contain COVID-19, DPP Legislator Kuo Kuo-wen (郭國文) said yesterday.
The gowns were airfreighted on Monday and should be received by the Osaka government in the next two days, Kuo, head of an East Asia parliamentary friendship group, told a news conference in Taipei that was also attended by Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Deputy Representative Nishiumi Shigehiro.
Demand in Taiwan for such gowns has been limited, as this nation has not had a community-level outbreak of the virus, while Osaka is in urgent need of them, Kuo said.
DPP Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米) said Taiwan has achieved a lot in its fight against COVID-19, and is willing to lend a helping hand to others.
The lawmakers also linked the donation to the government’s desire for Taiwan to become a member of the WHO.
Japan has expressed public support for Taiwan to participate in the WHO, which is why he supported sending the gowns to Japan to help deepen relations, DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) said.
Shigehiro thanked the group for their assistance, and expressed gratitude on behalf of the Japanese government for the donation.
Japan has reported 13,614 cases and 385 deaths. A total of 1,521 cases of those have been in Osaka, which has had 29 deaths.
In related news, in an opinion piece published in two Philippine newspapers on Monday, Representative to the Philippines Michael Hsu (徐佩勇) said Taiwan provides a model for successfully controlling COVID-19 without a lockdown, as his host nation prepares for a phased reopening of its economy this week.
In the piece published in the Philippine Star and Malaya Business Insight, Hsu detailed the public health and economic challenges the pandemic has posed to the international community, noting that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte opted for a policy of “enhanced community quarantine” for Luzon that began on March 16 and is due to end tomorrow.
Hsu explained how the Central Epidemic Command Center was established after the SARS outbreak in 2003 to better coordinate the government’s response across departments.
Activating the center on Jan. 20 helped to quickly implement disease prevention measures, mobilize resources, trace contacts and monitor the outbreak using big data analysis, Hsu said.
Other significant factors have been the center’s daily news conferences and the nation’s healthcare system, he wrote.
He also reiterated the government’s call for Taiwan to be admitted into the WHO: “Let bayanihan spirit shine and include Taiwan in the WHO to achieve ‘Health for All,’” Hsu wrote, using a Philippine word for “cooperative undertaking.”
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