Foreign envoys praise Taiwan's quick response to COVID-19 threat

02/29/2020 10:15 PM
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Australia's representative to Taipei Gary Cowan

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) Foreign envoys have praised Taiwan's "quick" and "effective" response to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, saying Taiwan has set an example other countries can learn from.

So far, Taiwan's 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases are relatively low compared with neighboring countries. There have been over 83,000 confirmed cases around the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, with the majority in China, the country where the virus first emerged at the end of last year.

Gary Cowan, Australia's representative to Taipei, told CNA Saturday that while the disease represents a challenge to the world, Taiwan's preventive measures have been effective.

"We should say that Taiwan seems to have taken very effective measures, and information flow to Taiwanese people and to us foreign officials and citizens has been very good and that has given us a lot of confidence," Cowan said.

There have been a total of 23 confirmed infections in Australia, according to WHO statistics released Friday.

Taiwan's government has taken good care of foreign officials who do not have the necessary documents to line up at pharmacies to collect two medical grade masks per week under the current rationing system, Cowan said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) had been providing two adult-size face masks per week to foreign diplomats and their family members in Taiwan because they are excluded from the rationing system introduced on Feb. 6, in which face masks can only be sold to national health insurance (NHI) card or Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) holders.

"We appreciate the measures the Taiwanese government have taken," he said. "We are still pretty confident and comfortable here."

Meanwhile, Hiroyasu Izumi, the chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office, said the Taiwanese government has responded very decisively and quickly to virus prevention.

In addition, the people of Taiwan have taken great care with epidemic prevention, which is an example Japan can learn from, Izumi said.

The response to the coronavirus requires the cooperation of the international community, hence Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly as an observer is essential, Izumi said.

Hiroyasu Izumi, the chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office
Hiroyasu Izumi, the chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Taipei Office

As of Saturday, there were 85,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed around the world, including hundreds confirmed in Japan, according to WHO statistics.

(By Elaine Hou, Chen Yun-yu, and William Yen)


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