Taiwan in Covid dire straits

The international community should help Taiwan with Covid-19 vaccines, Kuomintang chief Johnny Chiang Chi-chen declared yesterday as the island reported a record high 206 local coronavirus cases.

Opposition boss Chiang also sought to fire up leaders elsewhere with the line on Facebook that “Helping Taiwan is helping the world!”

Yet it was Taiwan’s low vaccination rate – less that 1 percent of the island’s 23.5 million people have had jabs – that was blamed as the outbreak continued to worsen.

And political parties were divided on whether to accept mainland-made vaccines after the leadership suspended Taiwan’s pay-for-your-own-shots program to keep supplies back for people in need of government-funded jabs.

But President Tsai Ing-wen of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said she has seen a lot of pictures on social media of much fewer people out and about, indicating that Taiwanese were hunkering down in the fight.

She urged people to maintain efforts to safeguard themselves, which included downloading a social distancing mobile app developed by the government to check on contacts with people carrying the virus.

Chiang also noted that Taiwan is an important political and economic partner to the world and the outbreak would affect the supply of electronic products.

“The international community should try its best to help Taiwan to get enough Covid-19 vaccines, to help Taiwan get through this wave of infections and to pass the 2-month window period before locally made vaccines are available in late July.”

He also urged the mainland to stop “unnecessary political and military moves” against Taiwan at this stage and said there should be more goodwill across the strait to build a solid foundation for the trust of people and the resumption of exchanges in future.

Meanwhile, a pro-mainland Taiwan group, the Chinese Unification Promotion Party, petitioned the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control yesterday, urging the DPP administration to accept the mainland-made Sinopharm vaccine.

That was granted emergency approval by the World Health Organization on May 7.

The party claimed the mainland was willing to donate Sinopharm vaccines to people in Taiwan but said this was rejected by the DPP, which was the cause of the latest wave.

It hoped the DPP would return to “the right path” and accept the mainland’s goodwill offer for the sake of Taiwanese.

But the Taiwan State-Building Party questioned the efficacy of mainland-made vaccines and quoted a German proverb, “When the fox preaches look to the geese,” on the pro-mainland party’s push.

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