The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) should allow the public to use rapid testing kits to head off a general outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, is responsible for the low screening rate in Taiwan, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) said yesterday.
The lack of general screening has been proved to be the reason that the nation’s hospitals are on the brink of collapse, Wang told a news conference in Taipei, quoting Chen as saying last year that false-positives from general screening could lead to the complete breakdown of Taiwan’s hospital system.
Photo courtesy of the KMT
Even after the outbreak, Chen refused to implement general screening on the grounds that it would take away resources and personnel from preventing the virus from spreading, she added.
The center should reconsider and implement general screening, Wang said, citing a Bloomberg article stating that low testing rates were one of the reasons that Taiwan’s disease prevention measures were breached.
Taiwanese rapid testing kits are being exported and used abroad, and there is no reason why they should not be made available in Taiwan, Wang said, adding that the public would be exposed to less infection risk by using the kits instead of being tested at a clinic or hospital.
Separately, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) expressed concern over the lack of vaccines.
The government is obligated to provide vaccines as soon as possible, Ma wrote on Facebook, adding that people should be able to freely choose what vaccine they are given.
Chu urged the government to establish an emergency fund and designate a task force to increase the number of vaccine doses purchased, saying that the delay in deliveries and the low number of doses purchases has him concerned.
Wang also criticized the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for having a double standard when dealing with alleged misinformation, saying that the party targets opponents under the pretext of combatting misinformation, while ignoring DPP members who disseminate misinformation.
Hsinchu County Deputy Commissioner Chen Chien-hsien (陳見賢) was yesterday summoned to give a statement to the Criminal Investigation Bureau about forwarding opinions posted by an Internet user surnamed Tan (譚).
Also summoned yesterday, Tan said that after monitoring new reports in Japan, he posted about Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi having allegedly said that Japan offered 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan after Taipei requested a limited number of doses to tide it over until domestic vaccines became available next month.
Living in a democratic society, Taiwanese have freedom of speech and Chen Chien-hsien should be allowed to post personal comments online, Wang said.
Wang cited an article on Saturday last week by Japan’s Kyodo news agency that quoted Masahisa Sato, member of the Japanese Diet’s House of Councilors, as saying that Taiwan had only asked for about 1 million doses.
“Is the report false?” Wang asked.
The DPP government must tell the public whether this is true, because “1 million doses” was never reported by the local media, Wang added.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang
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