Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.”
The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day.
The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.”
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, on April 11 made public the e-mail that the Centers for Disease Control had sent to the WHO International Health Regulations Focal Point.
The message said that “at least seven atypical pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan, China” and that “cases have been isolated for treatment.”
The minister said that any public health or medical professional would understand the circumstances that would require patients to be isolated.
Peggy Chen, a pediatrician at Taipei Municipal Hospital, said that the e-mail read to her as Taiwan asking the WHO for more information about the disease.
“Taiwan did not have confirmed cases at that time, so claiming that it was an e-mail warning the WHO is a little far-fetched,” she wrote.
“Instead of making the unreasonable argument that we had the foresight to warn the WHO with this e-mail, why not promote Taiwan’s past successful infectious disease prevention experience to win everybody’s heart,” she added.
Chen Shih-chung yesterday in Tainan said that he respects different opinions.
“The e-mail has been made public, and while some people understand it, some do not, and I cannot force everyone to understand it,” he said.
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